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Captain Thomas Shirley
of the Leander


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Biographia Navalis: Or, Impartial Memoirs of the Lives and Characters of Officers of the Navy of ... By John Charnock

SHIRLEY, Thomas, — which gentleman is now living, is the third [sic] son of Laurence, the tenth son of Robert, first Earl Ferrers, and Anne, fourth daughter to Sir Walter Clarges, of Aston, in the county of Hertford, bart. He was born on the 6th of April, 1733; and having entered into the royal navy at a very early age, was, on the 11th of October, 1755, promoted to the rank of lieutenant: but we have no farther intelligence concerning him till he was promoted to the rank of post-captain, by commission
bearing date November the 19th, 1759, appointing him to the Garland. He very soon atterwards was made captain of the Kingston, of sixty guns, in which he continued till towards the end of the year 1761, when that ship, being deemed unfit for farther service, was dismantled, and captain Shirley removed into the Princess Mary, of the same force, employed as a guardship during the remainder of the war.

Subsequent to that time, he appears, during a considerable interval [In this space he was appointed deputy-ranger of St. James's and Hyde Parks] to have retired irom the service, not having, far as we have been able to discover, held any commission till the month of July 1780, when he was appointed to the Leander, of fifty guns, a ship then newly launched. He was employed for some time as a cruiser in the North Sea, and at the end of the year 1781 was sent out, in the same ship, to the coast ot Africa with a convoy, consisting of a few merchant- vessels and transports.

In the ensuing spring, while off that coast, he attacked and made himself master of five Dutch forts, mounting from eighteen to thirty-two guns each, besides destroying a French store-ship, called the l'Officeuse, off Senegal, supposed to be worth 30,000L. Captain Shirley passed from the coast of Africa to the Weft Indies [Where he became, towards the end of the year 1782, for a few weeks previous to the arrival of Admiral Pigot, commanding officer, as senior captain.], where he was promoted, by the commander-in-chief on that station, to the Union, a second rate ot ninety guns. In this ship he returned to England early in the ensuing summer the Union being immediately put out of commission in consequence of peace having taken place, we do not find him ever to have held any subsequent command. When he became senior on the list of captains he was put on that of superannuated rear-admirals, in which station he at present continues

[note: Thomas Shirley died April 6, 1814]

Battle of Quiberon Bay, 20 November 1759
Orders of Battle

The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France near St. Nazaire. The British Admiral Sir Edward Hawke with 23 ships of the line caught up with a French fleet with 21 ships of the line under Marshal de Conflans, and after hard fighting, sank, captured, or forced aground most of them, thus giving the Royal Navy one of its greatest victories.

Ship Name Guns Captain Notes

Royal Navy (23 Ships of the line plus 9 smaller ships)

Royal George 100 Captain Campbell Flagship of Vice Admiral Sir Edward Hawke
Union 90 Captain J. Evans Flag of Sir Charles Hardy
Duke 90 Thomas Graves
Namur 90 M. Buckle
Mars 74 Commodore J. Young
Warspite 74 Sir John Bentley
Hercules 74 W. Fortescue
Torbay 74 Hon Augustus Keppel
Magnanime 74 Lord Viscount Howe ex-French
Resolution 74 H. Speke Lost at Four Shoals
Hero 74 Hon G. Edgecumbe
Swiftsure 70 Sir Thomas Stanhope
Dorsetshire 70 P. Denis
Burford 70 G. Gambier
Chichester 70 W.S. Willet
Temple 70 Hon W. Shirley
Revenge 64 J. Storr
Essex 64 Lucius O'Brien Lost at Four Shoals
Kingston 60 Thomas Shirley
Intrepid 60 J. Maplesden
Montague 60 Joseph Rowley
Dunkirk 60 R. Digby
Defiance 60 P. Baird
SOL (x4) 50 Not in Line
Frigate 36 Not in Line
Frigate (x2) 32 Not in Line
Frigate (x2) 28 Not in Line

Casualties - British 300-400 French 2500


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