Thomas Forrest

RolesNaval Sailor 
First Known Service29.4.1802CSORN
Last Known Service27.7.1843CSORN
Date of Death1844

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
29.4.1802 LieutenantCSORN
1804 Emerald (36), First LieutenantBWAS-1793
22.1.1806 CommanderCSORN
1807 Regulating the Impress service and acting as agent for prisoners of war, at North YarmouthRNB1823
12.18077.1809Prometheus (18), Commander and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
25.7.1809 CaptainCSORN
9.18105.1812Dragon (74), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
5.18121814Cyane (22), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
1814 Sybille (38), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
16.1.1814 Action of 1814-01-16 
1815 Appointed Companion of the Companion of the Order of the Bath 
8.18151817Ister (36), Captain and Commanding OfficerBWAS-1793
1816 Ister (36), Captain and Commanding OfficerRNB1823
1823 Isis (50), Captain and Commanding OfficerRNB1823
13.1.1839 Awarded a good service pensionref:72
27.10.18403.1843Impregnable (98), Captain and Commanding OfficerB177
3.184327.7.1843Howe (120), Captain and Commanding OfficerB177

Notes on Officer

Capture of the privateer MosambiqueW005
On the morning of the 13th of March [1804] the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Emerald, Captain James O'Brien, observed a French privateer-schooner, on account of inability to work up to St.-Pierre's, run in and anchor close under a battery at Seron, just within the Pearl rock at the western extremity of Martinique. As the frigate herself, being considerably to leeward, was unable to reach the spot in time, Captain O'Brien despatched the armed sloop Fort-Diamond, with Lieutenant Thomas Forrest and 30 volunteers, to attempt the service ; and, in order to take off the attention of the battery from the movements of the sloop, he sent in a different direction the frigate's boats, joined by two from the 44-gun ship Pandour, which had just hove in sight.

Having reached the anchorage, Lieutenant Forrest dashed in, and laid the French schooner on board, the crew of which, amounting to about 60 whites and blacks, after discharging her broadside and a volley of musketry, fled over the side to the shore. By the force with which the Fort-Diamond struck the schooner, the chain, by which the latter had fastened herself to the shore, was broke, and about 20 feet of it remained hanging at her bows. The prize proved to be the privateer Mosambique, armed with ten 18-pounder carronades, commanded by Captain Vallentes, and fitted for a three months' cruise. This very gallant exploit was performed with so trifling a loss, as one master's mate (Mr. Hall) and one seaman wounded.

H. M. S. Emerald, off St. Pierre's, Martinique, March 13, 1804RNB1823

Sir, I have the honor to enclose you a letter I have received from Lieutenant Forrest, first of H. M. S. under my command, who I this morning sent, accompanied by 30 volunteers, on board the Fort-Diamond armed sloop, with directions to work to windward, so as to enable the sloop to weather the Pearl rock, and to bear down on an armed schooner, which had (finding it impossible to get into St. Pierre's, this ship being to leeward), anchored close in shore, under cover of the battery at Seron. I at the same time sent the boats of this ship in a different direction, in order to take off the attention of the battery from the manreuvre in contemplation, to be performed by Lieutenant Forrest.

It affords me particular satisfaction to bear testimony to the handsome and gallant manner in which the service was executed, Lieutenant Forrest having laid the enemy's schooner on board, under a heavy fire from her and the battery.

In the performance of this service great judgment was exhibited, as, by the mode of doing it, a chain, by which she was fastened to the shore, was broke, 20 feet of which is now hanging to the schooner's bow. The crew of this vessel (consisting of about 60 whites and blacks), finding it impossible to withstand British intrepidity, jumped overboard and swam ashore, which they were enabled to do from her being moored close to it.

It affords me particular pleasure to inform you, Sir, that this exploit was performed without any loss on our part, two men only being slightly wounded. I have been rather more circumstantial in this detail, than perhaps the mere capture of a privateer justifies, but I feel I should not do justice to the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Forrest, the judgment he exhibited, and the brave and cool conduct of the petty officers and men under his command, which he speaks of in high terms, had I neglected relating every circumstance that took place, which has excited admiration and emulation in the breasts of the spectators ; and 1 must beg to add, that the general conduct of this officer, ever since he has been under my command, has been such as to entitle him to my approbation. The captured schooner, whose name I can only guess at from a letter found on board, the only paper left, is the Mosambique, pierced for 14 guns, with 10 eighteen-pounder carronades mounted ; she is from Guadaloupe, and fitted for a three months' cruise, to all appearance perfectly new, copper-bottomed and fastened, sails apparently well, and seems calculated for the King's service.


To Commodore Hood

Leading a boat attackW005

On the 25th of July Captain Charles Dudley Paten commanding a British squadron, composed of his own ship the Princess-Caroline 74, the Minotaur, of the same force, Captain John Barrett, 18-pounder 32-gun frigate Cerberus, Captain Henry Whitby, and 18-gun ship-sloop Prometheus, Captain Thomas Forrest, permitted the latter to lead the boats of the squadron, 17 in number, to the attack of four Russian gun-boats and an armed brig, lying at Fredericksham, near Apso roads, in the gulf of Finland. After dark the boats, commanded by Captain Forrest, who was assisted by, among other officers, Lieutenants James Bashford of the Princess-Caroline, John James Callenan, and Lieutenants of marines William Wilkin, of the Minotaur, Lieutenants Robert Pettet and John Simpson, of the Cerberus, and Gawen Forster and Thomas Finnimore, of the Prometheus, pushed off from the squadron, and at 10 h. 30 m. p.m. commenced the attack. After a most desperate and sanguinary conflict, three of the gun-boats, mounting two long 38-pounders each, and having on board between them 137 men, besides an armed transport brig, with 23 men, were captured and brought off.

Costly, indeed, were the prizes. The British loss amounted to one lieutenant (John James Callenan), one second lieutenant of marines (William Wilkin), one midshipman (Gordon Carrington), and six seamen and marines killed ; Captain Forrest himself, one lieutenant (Gawen Forster), three midshipmen (George Elvey, Thomas Milne, and John Chalmers), and 46 seamen and marines wounded. The Russians, on their side, acknowledged a loss of 28 killed and 59 wounded ; making a total of 47 men killed and 110 wounded, in obtaining possession of three gun-boats. One of these gun-boats, No. 62, was so obstinately defended, that every man of her crew, 44 in number, was either killed or wounded. before she surrendered : the killed alone amounted to 24. The result of this enterprise was a defeat to the Russians certainly, but under circumstances that reflected the brightest honour upon the character of their navy. For the gallantry, he had shown on the occasion, Captain Forrest was promoted to post-rank.

His death was reported in the 20th September 1844 edition of the Navy List

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