James Gilchrist

RolesNaval Sailor 
First Known Service25.11.1726CSORN
Nephew Thomas Cochrane (10th Earl of Dundonald) (1775-1860)TRN3
Last Known Service11.12.1759CSORN
Date of Death1777 - Hunsfield, Lanarkshire CSORN

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
14.6.1734 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination ADM 107/3/253RNLPC
28.8.1741 Lieutenant ADM 6/15/447CSORN
16.1.1749/50 Commander ADM 6/17/520CSORN
16.1.1749/508.5.1750Basilisk (8), Commander and Commanding Officer ADM 6/17/520
Issued by The Hon. Edward Boscawen (1711-1761), East Indies
Commission confirmed 11.5.1750
ADM 6/17
18.7.1755 Captain ADM 6/18/180CSORN
18.7.175526.6.1756Experiment (24), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/18/180BWAS-1714
20.5.1756 Battle of Minorca 
4.4.175711.12.1759Southampton (32), Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/18/379BWAS-1714
25.7.1757 Defence of the Southampton 
21.9.1757 Southampton vs L'Emeraude 
5.6.175812.6.1758Raid on Saint-Malo 
20.3.1759 Action of 20 March 1759 
30.9.1777 His widow was awarded a pension of £100pa.ref:1002

Notes on Officer


GILCHRIST, JAMES (d. 1777), captain in the navy, was promoted to be a lieutenant in the navy on 28 Aug. 1741, and in 1749 was serving in the Namur when, on 12 April, she was lost with all hands on board. As only those who were on shore with the admiral, or sick in hospital, escaped, it would seem probable that Gilchrist was Boscawen's flag-lieutenant. When the news of the peace was confirmed, he was sent home in command of the Basilisk bomb, bringing the few survivors. He arrived at Plymouth on 17 April 1750, putting in there on account of the inclemency of the weather, which the men were unable to stand, being, he wrote, entirely naked. On 18 July 1755 he was advanced to post-rank and appointed to the Experiment frigate, which he joined on 8 August. In September he was sent over to the coast of France, where in eleven days he captured no fewer than sixteen, mostly small, vessels. In the beginning of 1756 he was sent into the Mediterranean, where he joined Admiral Byng, and was present at the action off Minorca on 20 May. He was afterwards appointed by Sir Edward Hawke, in rapid succession to the Chesterfield, the Deptford, and the Trident; was then sent home as a witness at the trial of Admiral Byng, and in April 1757 was appointed to the Southampton, a 32-gun frigate, in which, off Portland, on 25 July, he fought a severe action with two French frigates of superior force (Laughton, Studies in Naval history, p. 333), and succeeded in beating them off. With better fortune he met, on 12 Sept, the French frigate Émeraude, which he captured after a sharp action of thirty-five minutes' duration, and brought into Falmouth. During the following year he was still employed in Channel service, in the course of which he captured two large privateers; and on 28 March 1759, being in company with Captain Hotham in the Melampe, on a cruise in the North sea, met and engaged the 40-gun French frigate Danae, which, after a hard-fought action, lasting all through the night, struck her flag in the morning. Gilchrist was shot through the shoulder by a one-pound ball, a wound that for the time endangered his life, and rendered his arm permanently useless. He never served again, but lived in retirement at his family seat of Hunsfield in Lanarkshire, where he died in 1777. One of his daughters married the ninth earl of Dundonald, and was the mother of Thomas Cochrane, tenth earl of Dundonald.

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Brian Stephens on Saturday 12th of April 2014 12:32

GILCHRIST, JAMES, distinguished himself very much when captain of the Southampton frigate, in which ship he fought several gallant actions ; in one he was severely wounded in the shoulder, which rendered him incapable of further services; he had a pension of 300 1. per annum. Died 1777. (Navel History of Great Britain Vol 8 published 1818)

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