|The Earl of Dundonald|
|Birth Date:||14 December 1775|
|Birth Place:||Annsfield, near Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland|
|Death Place:||Kensington, London, England|
|Occupation:||Royal Navy Officer|
Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marques do Maranhão, GCB RN (14 December 1775 - 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831 (but after he had inherited the Earl of Dundonald he was still refered to as "Lord Cochrane") , was a British naval officer and radical politician. He was one of the most daring and successful captains of the Napoleonic Wars, leading the French to nickname him "Le Loup des Mers" ("The Sea Wolf" or "The Wolf of the Sea"). After being dismissed from the Royal Navy, he served in the rebel navies of Chile, Brazil, and Greece during their respective wars of independence, before being reinstated in the Royal Navy with the rank of Rear Admiral of the Blue. Subsequently promoted several times, he died in 1860 with the rank of Admiral of the Red, and the honorary title of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom. His life and exploits served as inspiration for the naval fiction of twentieth-century novelists C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey.
Thomas Cochrane was born at Annsfield, near Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of Archibald Cochrane, 9th Earl of Dundonald and Anna Gilchrist. She was daughter of Captain James Gilchrist RN and Ann Roberton, (daughter of Major John Roberton 16th Laird of Earnock).
Cochrane had six brothers, one was Major William Erskine Cochrane of the 15th Dragoon Guards who served with distinction under Sir John Moore in the Spanish wars of 1808-11 and Captain Archibald Cochrane RN. 
Cochrane perpetuated lines of Scottish aristocracy and military service from both sides of his family. Through his uncle, Admiral Sir Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane the sixth son of the 8th Earl of Dundonald, Cochrane was cousin to his namesake Sir Thomas John Cochrane, Vice Admiral of the United Kingdom and Governor of Newfoundland. The family fortune had been spent, and in 1793, the family estate was sold to cover debts.
Through the influence of his uncle Alexander, he was listed as a member of the crew on the books of four Royal Navy ships starting when he was age five. This common though unlawful practice (called false muster) was a tactic to have on record some of the length of service necessary before he could be made an officer, if and when he joined the navy. His father secured a commission in the British army at an early age but Lord Cochrane preferred the Royal Navy which he joined in 1793 upon the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars.
He first served in the Baltic aboard a Sixth Rate frigate, the 28-gun HMS Hind, commanded by his uncle, Captain Alexander Cochrane, and in 1795, was appointed acting lieutenant on the 38-gun Fifth Rate HMS Thetis, also under his uncle's command. The following year he was commissioned in the rank of Lieutenant on 27 May 1796 after passing the examination. After several transfers in America and a return home, he found himself as 8th Lieutenant on Lord Keith's flagship HMS Barfleur in the Mediterranean in 1798.
During his service on this ship, he was tried by a court martial for apparently showing disrespect to Philip Beaver, the ship's first lieutenant. Though found innocent of the serious charge he was reprimanded for being flippant. This began a pattern of Cochrane being unable to get along with many of his superiors, subordinates, employers and colleagues in several navies and Parliament; even those with whom he had much in common, and who should have been natural allies. It led to a long enmity with John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent.
In 1799, Cochrane briefly commanded the prize crew taking the captured French battleship Généreux to the British base at Mahon. The ship was almost lost in a storm, with Cochrane and his brother personally going aloft in place of a crew that were mostly ill.
On 28 March 1800, Cochrane was promoted Commander and appointed to command the brig sloop HMS Speedy. Later that year, he was almost captured by a Spanish warship concealed as a merchant ship. He escaped by flying a Danish flag and dissuading an attempt to investigate by claiming his ship was plague-ridden.
Chased by an enemy frigate, and knowing it would follow him in the night by the glimmer of light from the Speedy, he placed a candle on a barrel and let it float away. The enemy frigate followed the candle and Speedy escaped.
In February 1801 at Malta he got into an argument at a fancy dress ball with a French Royalist officer (Cochrane came dressed as a common sailor, and was mistaken for one) which led to Cochrane's only duel. The French officer was wounded by Cochrane's pistol but Cochrane was unharmed.
One of his most famous exploits was the capture of the Spanish frigate El Gamo, on 6 May 1801. El Gamo carried 32 guns and 319 men, compared with the 14 guns and 54 men on Speedy. Cochrane flew an American flag to approach so closely to Gamo that its guns could not depress to fire on the Speedy's hull. This left only the option of boarding, but whenever the Spanish were about to board, Cochrane would pull away briefly, and fire on the concentrated boarding parties with his ship's guns. Cochrane then boarded the Gamo, despite still being outnumbered about five to one, and captured her.
In the 15 month cruise of the Speedy Cochrane captured, burned, or drove ashore more than 50 ships before being captured on 3 July 1801 by three French ships of the line under Admiral Linois. On 8 August 1801 he was promoted to the rank of post-captain.
During the Peace of Amiens, Cochrane attended the University of Edinburgh. Upon the resumption of war in 1803, St Vincent assigned him in October 1803 to command of a Sixth Rate, the 22-gun HMS Arab (formerly the French privateer Le Brave). This ship had poor handling, collided with Royal Navy ships on two occasions (the Bloodhound and the Abundance), and afforded Cochrane no opportunities. He would notably compare the Arab to a collier in his autobiography. Despite this, he still managed to intercept and board an American merchant ship, the Chatham, and create an international incident, leading to the consignment of HMS Arab and her commander to fishing fleet protection duties beyond Orkney in the North Sea.
In 1804, the new government of William Pitt the Younger removed St Vincent and in December Cochrane was appointed to command of the new 32-gun frigate HMS Pallas, in which he undertook a series of notable exploits over the following eighteen months.
In August 1806, he was given command of the 38-gun frigate Imperieuse, formerly the Spanish frigate Iphigenia. One of his midshipmen was Frederick Marryat who later wrote fictionalized accounts of his adventures with Cochrane.
Cochrane used this ship to raid the Mediterranean coast of France. In 1808, Cochrane and a Spanish guerrilla force captured the fortress of Mongat, which sat astride the road between Gerona and Barcelona. As a result, a French army under General Duhesme was delayed for a month. Another raid copied code books from a signal station, leaving behind the originals so the French would believe them uncompromised. When Imperieuse ran short of water, she sailed up the estuary of the Rhone to replenish. When a French army marched into Catalonia and besieged Rosas, Cochrane took part in the defence of the town by occupying and defending Fort Trinidad (Castell de la Trinitat) for a number of weeks.
While captain of Speedy, Pallas, and Imperieuse Cochrane became arguably the most effective practitioner of coastal warfare during the period. Not only did he attack shore installations but captured enemy ships in harbor by leading his men in boats in "cutting out" operations. He was a meticulous planner of every operation, limiting casualties among his men and maximizing success.
In 1809, he was chosen to command the attack of a flotilla of explosion and fire ships on Rochefort, as part of the Battle of the Basque Roads. Some damage was done, but Cochrane felt that a great opportunity was lost, for which he blamed the fleet commander, Admiral Gambier. As a result of the public expression of this opinion, he spent some time without a naval command.
In June 1806, Cochrane stood for the British House of Commons on a ticket of parliamentary reform (a movement which would bring about the Reform Acts) for the potwalloper borough of Honiton. This was exactly the kind of borough Cochrane wished to abolish; votes were mostly sold to the highest bidder. Cochrane offered nothing and lost the election. In October 1806, he again ran for Parliament in Honiton and won. Cochrane denied that he paid any bribes but Cochrane himself revealed in a Parliamentary debate ten years afterward that he had paid ten guineas (£10 10s) per voter through Mr. Townshend, local headman and banker.In May 1807, Cochrane was elected by Westminster in a more democratic election. He would hold this seat until 1818. (He was expelled on 5 July 1814, but re-elected at the resulting by-election on 16 July).http://www.leighrayment.com/commons/Wcommons3.htm
Cochrane campaigned for parliamentary reform, allied with such Radicals as William Cobbett, Sir Francis Burdett and Henry Hunt. His outspoken criticism of the conduct of the war and the corruption in the navy made him powerful enemies in the government, and his criticism of Admiral Gambier's conduct at the Battle of the Basque Roads (so severe that Gambier demanded a court-martial to clear his name) made him enemies in the Admiralty.
In 1810, Sir Francis Burdett, a Member of Parliament and political ally, had barricaded himself into his home at Piccadilly, London, resisting arrest by the House of Commons. Cochrane went to assist Burdett's defence of the house. His approach to this, however, was essentially similar to the approach he had taken in defending forts against enemy attack and would have led to numerous deaths amongst the arresting officers and at least partial destruction of Burdett's house, along with much of Piccadilly. On realising what Cochrane planned, Burdett and his allies took steps to end the siege.
Cochrane was popular, but unable to get along with his colleagues in the House of Commons, let alone the government. He rarely achieved a great deal for his causes. An exception was his 1812 confrontation of the Admiralty's prize court.
Cochrane made his last speech in Parliament (in favour of parliamentary reform) in 1818. In 1830, he was invited to stand for Parliament by the reform-minded government of Lord Brougham. After initially expressing interest, Cochrane declined, partly because Lord Brougham's brother decided to run for the seat, and partly because he thought it would look bad to be publicly supporting a government from which he sought pardon of a fraud conviction (see The Great Stock Exchange Fraud below).
In 1831, his father died and Cochrane became the 10th Earl Dundonald. As such, he was eligible to sit in the House of Lords, but not in the House of Commons.
In 1812, Cochrane married Katherine Frances Corbet Barnes, a beautiful orphan more than twenty years his junior. This was an elopement and a civil ceremony, due to the opposition of his wealthy uncle Basil Cochrane, who disinherited his nephew as a result.
The confusion of multiple ceremonies led to suspicions that Cochrane's first son, Thomas Barnes Cochrane, 11th Earl of Dundonald, was illegitimate, and delayed his accession to the Earldom of Dundonald on his father's death.
Katherine, called Kate, Kitty, or "Mouse" in letters to her by Cochrane, often accompanied her husband on his campaigns in South America.
Cochrane was tried and convicted as a conspirator in the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814, although he maintained his innocence throughout his life. The summing up of the presiding judge, Lord Ellenborough, was biased against Cochrane. Some historians believe that the weight of circumstantial evidence against Cochrane indicated that possibly he had been the pawn of his uncle Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone, a conspirator. In 1830, Charles Grenville wrote how much he admired Cochrane, despite his guilt. By the Victorian era, however, he was widely believed to have been innocent.
He was sentenced to the pillory (a more severe form of the stocks) and a year's imprisonment. He was excused from doing pillory for fear that his supporters might riot. He was also expelled from Parliament and the navy. As an additional humiliation he was stripped of his knighthood and a degradation ceremony performed. He was, however, immediately re-elected for Westminster. There was considerable public anger at his trial and sentence, especially the degrading pillory.
For the rest of his life, Cochrane would campaign to have his conviction reversed and his honours restored. He would receive a royal pardon in 1832, and be restored to the navy list and gazetted Rear Admiral of the Blue on 2 May 1832. Not until 1847, however, would his knighthood be restored, by the personal intervention of Queen Victoria. And only in 1860 would his banner return to Westminster Abbey, just in time for his funeral.
Accompanied by Lady Cochrane and his two children, he reached Valparaiso on 28 November 1818. Cochrane was named vice-admiral and reorganized the Chilean navy. He took command of the frigate O'Higgins and raided the coasts of Chile and Peru as he had France and Spain. He introduced British naval customs into the Chilean navy. He organized and successfully led the capture of Valdivia despite only having 300 men and 2 ships against over 7 large forts. In 1820, forces under his command cut out and captured the Esmeralda, the most powerful Spanish ship in South America. He failed to capture Chiloé Archipelago for Chile. Later, he was ordered by O'Higgins to lead the Chilean fleet to free Peru from Spain, while Jose de San Martin would lead the Freedom Army. This resulted in Peruvian independence, which O'Higgins considered indispensable to Chile's independence and security.
Cochrane is alleged to have made plans to free Napoleon from his exile on Saint Helena and make him ruler of a unified South American state. Before he could carry out his plan, Napoleon died in 1821. Cochrane left the service of the Chilean Navy on 29 November 1822.
The Chilean Navy has named five ships Cochrane or Almirante Cochrane (Admiral Cochrane) in his honour:
Brazil was fighting its own war of independence against Portugal. The southern provinces were under rebel control, but Portugal still controlled the north, in which São Luís was the most important city. In 1822 he was given command of it's navy.
Cochrane took command of the Brazilian navy on 21 March 1823 and commanded its flagship, the Pedro Primeiro. By bluff, he convinced the Portuguese army in Bahia to evacuate to Maranhão (Maranham), captured much of the escaping convoy, then sailed ahead of the convoy to Maranhão and bluffed Maranhão into surrendering as well. Finally, he sent a subordinate Captain Grenfell to Pará, who used the same bluff to extract Para's surrender. In 1824 he resigned after achieving their independence.
As a result of rebellions and attempted palace coups, Cochrane found himself Governor of the province of Maranhão. During his government, Emperor Pedro I of Brazil created him Marquess of Maranham (Marquês do Maranhão). But, dissatisfied with his situation, Cochrane quit Brazilian service on 10 November 1825, boarded a frigate and sailed it to England.
In 1824 he took command of the Peruvian Navy. After achieving their independance in 1826 he resigned as Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of their navy and sailed for England.
Cochrane returned to Europe and took an active role between March 1827 and December 1828 in the campaign to secure Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire. An Ottoman army raised in Egypt had been suppressing the Greek rebellion. Cochrane's efforts were generally of limited success, due to the poor discipline of the Greek soldiers and seamen. One of his subordinates, Captain Hastings, attacked at the Gulf of Lepanto. This indirectly led to intervention by Britain, France and Russia, the destruction of the Turko-Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino and the end of the war under mediation of the Great Powers. This was probably the only campaign in Cochrane's naval career in which the results of his efforts were disappointingly slight. Afterwards he resigned and returned to England. For the first time since he was convicted for the Stock Exchange Scandal of 1814 his lively nature was brought to a standstill. Despite this there is little evidence to suggest that he experienced a nervous breakdown.
Cochrane inherted his peerage following his father's death on 1 July 1831, becoming the 10th Earl of Dundonald. He was restored to the Navy List on 2 May 1832 as a Rear Admiral of the Blue, but Cochrane's return to Royal Navy service was delayed by his refusal to take a command until his knighthood had been restored. Nevertheless he was further promoted up the list of flag officers, as follows:
On 22 May 1847 he was reinstated as a knight in the Order of the Bath and Cochrane served as Commander-in-Chief of the North American and West Indies station from 1848 to 1851. During the Crimean War, he was considered for a command in the Baltic, but it was decided that there was too much risk he would lose his fleet in a risky attack. On 6 November 1854, he was appointed to the honorary office of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom, an office which he retained until his death.
In his final years he wrote his autobiography in collaboration with G.B. Earp. With his health deteriorating, in 1860 Lord Thomas Cochrane twice underwent painful surgery for kidney stones. He died during the second operation on 31 October 1860, in Kensington. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. His grave is in the central part of the nave.
Convoys were guided by ships following the lamps of those ahead. In 1805, Cochrane entered a Royal Navy competition for a superior convoy lamp. Believing that the judges were likely to be biased against him, he asked a friend to enter for him. When Cochrane won, he revealed his identity. However, the Royal Navy never purchased any of the lamps.
In 1806, Cochrane had a galley made to his specifications, which he carried on board Pallas and used to attack the French coast.
In 1812, Cochrane proposed attacking the French coast using a combination of bombardment ships, explosion ships and "stink vessels" (gas warfare). A bombardment ship consisted of a strengthened old hulk filled with powder and shot and made to list one side which was then anchored at night to face the enemy behind the harbour wall. This allowed saturation bombardment of the harbour closely followed by landings of troops. He put the plans forward again before and during the Crimean War. The authorities decided not to pursue his plans, partly because they would cause terrible destruction and might later be used against Britain. The plans would be kept secret until 1895.
Cochrane was an early advocate of steamships. He attempted to bring a steamship from England to Chile, but its construction took too long and it arrived as the war was ending. The same thing happened to steamships he had hoped to bring to the Greek War of Independence. In the 1830s, he experimented with steam power, developing a rotary engine and a propeller. In 1851, Cochrane received a patent on powering steamships with bitumen.
His career inspired a number of writers of nautical fiction. The first was Captain Marryat who had served under him as a midshipman. In the 20th century, the fictional careers of Horatio Hornblower in the novels by C. S. Forester and of Jack Aubrey in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian were in part modelled on his exploits.
The adventures of Thomas Cochrane have also inspired David Weber with the stories about Honor Harrington. She is of course a "naval officer", even though in space.
Lord Cochrane's first appearance is in the historical fiction writer G. A. Henty's With Cochrane the Dauntless (1897).
The novel The Sea Lord (originally The Frigate Captain) by Showell Styles is explicitly about Lord Cochrane.
Lord Cochrane is a minor character in "Manuela" (ISBN 0-9704250-0-7) by Gregory Kauffman, a novel about the South American revolution.