Hon. Thomas Windsor

1752-1832. He was born on 19 May 1752, the second son of Other Lewis Windsor, the 4th Earl of Plymouth, and of his wife, Hon. Catherine Archer.

Windsor saw early service in North American waters, but although promoted lieutenant of the Salisbury 50 by the commander-in-chief of that station, Commodore James Gambier, this position had not been confirmed by the time he returned home in early 1771 to attend his dying father. He next found a midshipman’s berth aboard the Achilles 60, Captain Richard Collins, which went out to Jamaica in 1771, and he was eventually commissioned lieutenant on 27 March 1772. He saw further service on that station from the end of the year aboard the Zephyr 10, Captain William Charles Burnaby, and by 1777 he had become the senior lieutenant of the Portland 50, Captain Thomas Dumaresq, the flagship of Vice-Admiral James Young in the Leeward Islands.

640px-Junon_vs_HMS_Fox

The capture of the Fox by the Junon 1778

Windsor was appointed to the sloop Falcon 14 on 16 February 1777 by Vice-Admiral Young at Antigua as a result of a re-organisation brought about by the death of Captain Thomas Wilkinson of the Pearl 32. However, he was then displaced from the command in May by Vice-Admiral Lord Howe upon that vessel regaining her proper station in North America, as the latter considered the appointment should only have been made by him. Windsor was sent back to Antigua aboard the Camel 22, Captain William Clement Finch, where a rather indignant Young appointed him to the Beaver’s Prize 16 in July, prior to him returning to England a month later aboard a packet.

He was posted captain on 7 February 1778 and joined the Fox 28, which fought at the Battle of Ushant on 27 July. On 10 September the Fox engaged the French frigate Junon 32 off Brest and was totally dismasted by her heavier opponent. It was only after a brave resistance which saw him badly wounded in the arm that Windsor surrendered his ship, having lost eleven men killed and another thirty-eight wounded. He returned to England from France after being paroled in January 1779.

In April 1780 Windsor commissioned a new Fox 32 in honour of his gallant defence, serving with the Channel fleet and going out to Jamaica in January 1781. Having exchanged with Captain George Stoney in 1782 he returned to England from Jamaica with the Lowestoffe 32, this ship being paid off in August.

He was not thereafter re-employed but instead retired to Braywick, Berkshire. An attempt to be selected as a candidate for the Glamorgan parliamentary constituency in 1789 failed, but he served as high-sheriff of Berkshire in 1802. Meanwhile he had resigned from the Navy in 1795, having been passed over for flag rank.

Windsor died at Gore House, Knightsbridge, on 16 October 1832, six months after his late wife.

He married Frances, the daughter of John Bagnall and thirteen years his junior, on 23 February 1793.