O'Byrnes 1849 'Naval Biographical Dictionary'
O'Byrnes 1849 'Naval Biographical Dictionary'

Royal NavyO'Byrne

The following is the entry for Thomas Bourchier in William O'Byrnes 1849 'Naval Biographical Dictionary'.

BOURCHIER, K.C.B. (Captain, 1827. f-p., 29; h-p., 18.) Sir Thomas Bourchier, born in March, 1791, at Chapelizod, near Dublin, is son of the late Major-General Bourchier, of Ardcloncy, co. Clare.
This officer entered the Navy, in July, 1800, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Princess Royal 98, Capt. Thos. Macnamara Russell, on the Home station, where, and in the West Indies, he afterwards, until 1 March, 1808, served, as Midshipman, in the Fortunée 36, Capts. Lord Amelius Beauclerk, Stevens, and Ferrier, Amelia 38, Capt. Lord Proby, Centaur and Amsterdam, both bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Sir Sam. Hood, and Majestic 74, flag-ship of Vice-Admiral T.M. Russell, under whom he assisted at the reduction of Heligoland in Sept. 1807. On leaving the Majestic, Mr. Bourchier, who had just passed his examination, assumed, as Acting-Lieutenant, the command of the Lord Nelson hired cutter, but-soon after removed to the Forester 18, Capt. John Richards, to which sloop he was confirmed by the Admiralty 26 Aug. 1808. While attached to the latter vessel he contributed to the destruction of the wreck of H.M.S. Flora on the coast of Holland, was also present at the reduction of Martinique in Feb. 1809, and, on 31 of the following May, commanded a division of boats under Lieut. Lewes at the capture of a French letter-of-marque brig of 16, and schooner of 14 guns, protected by 4 long 8-pounders and 300 soldiers, in Port du Molas, Guadeloupe, where the guns were eventually spiked and the magazines blown up. His subsequent appointments, until paid off at the peace, were – 17 June, 1809, to the Heureux 18, Capt. Fras. Alex. Halliday, also in the West Indies – 11 Sept. 1810, to the Vengeur 74, flag-ship in the Channel of Sir Joseph Sydney Torke – 16 Dec. 1811, to the Ferret 16, Capt. F. A. Halliday, on the Leith station – and, 26 Feb. 1813, and 20 June, 1814, to the Victorious 74, Capt. John Talbot, and Tenedos 38, Capt. Hyde Parker, both employed off the coast of North America, under the latter officer he witnessed the surrender of the United States frigate President, and, as on various other occasions, commanded the seamen and marines at the capture of Machias and of two field-pieces from the American militia. After an unemployed interval of exactly four years, Lieut. Bourchier joined, 12 Aug. 1819, the Superb 78, bearing the broad pendant of Commodore Sir Thos. Masterman Hardy in South America, where he acquired, for short periods, the temporary command of the Créole 36, and Blossom 24, and was officially promoted to the Beaver sloop, 9 Sept. 1822. He was next in succession appointed, on the same station, to the Doris 36, Eclair 18, and Volage 28; and, on 12 Sept. 1827, obtained Post-rank in the Menai 26, in which frigate he returned to England in 1829. From that year Capt Bourchier did not again procure employment until 6 Nov.,1839, when he obtained command of the Blonde 42 As here to chronicle each detail of this officer’s very brilliant services during the ensuing campaign in China would lead us far beyond our limits, we must content ourselves in generally stating – that his career on that wide-spread field of action opened with a spirited attack on the batteries at Amoy, 3 July, 1840 – that he afterwards, being left in command at Chusan with a squadron of seven ships-of-war and transports, embarked the troops, and, in pursuance of the orders of Sir J. J. G. Bremer, delivered the island over to the Chinese authorities, in Feb 1841 – that he also commanded the flotilla of boats employed at the first taking of Canton, a brigade of seamen at the storming of the heights in the vicinity of that city during the operations which led to its re-capture, and a division of ships at the taking of Amoy, besides eminently participating in the capture (the second) of Chusan, Chinghae, Ningpo, the attack on the heights of Segoan, the further taking of Tsekee and Chapoo, and the battle of Woosung, on which latter occasion the Blonde was the leading ship – that he had charge of the naval force in the Ningpo River during a part of the winter of 1842, accompanied Rear-Admiral Sir Wm. Parker up the Yang-tse-Kiang, and was second in command at the pacification of Nanking – and that he ultimately returned, with 3,000,000 dollars of the Chinese ransom, to Portsmouth, where he was paid off in March, 1843. The importance of Capt. Bourchier’s services had in the interim been duly acknowledged by his nomination to the C.B. 29 June, 1841, and his subsequent elevation to the dignity of a K.C.B. 24 Dec. 1842. He has been employed, since 20 Sept. 1846, as Captain-Superintendent of Chatham Dockyard. Sir Thos. Bourchier married, 1 Sept. 1843, Jane Barbara, eldest daughter of Admiral Sir Edw. Codrington, G.C.B. Agents – Hallett and Robinson.

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