John Lewis Gidoin

Died 1796.

Gidoin was commissioned lieutenant on 19 January 1755 and promoted commander in September 1759, at which time he had been captaining the storeship Port Royal 12 for six months and would continue to do so until July 1761. From April 1762 he had the brig Zephyr 10 off the coast of Portugal, and in July 1763 recommissioned the Jamaica 10, going out to New England in November 1763 and spending most of his time on that station before paying her off in February 1767.

He was posted captain of the Surprise 20 for purposes of rank only on 26 May 1768, and during the Falklands Islands dispute of 1770-1 he was the captain of the impress service at Falmouth.

Having been recommissioned at Chatham in March 1776, Gidoin took the Richmond 32 out to North America in September. He commanded her in Vice-Admiral Lord Howe’s fleet during 1777-8, serving in the North River and the Philadelphia Campaign of August-November. After wintering in the Chesapeake the Richmond was present in the defence off New York in July 1778 and operations off Rhode Island in August. He captured the rebel privateer Black Prince on 15 August and remained on that station over the ensuing winter before returning to England.

640px-Île_de_Saint_Eustache_en_1781_(haute_résolution)

Captain Gidoin was present at the capture of St. Eustatius in 1781

In May 1779 Gidoin was detached from Portsmouth in command of a small frigate squadron to protect the Channel Islands from a French threat, rendezvousing with the Experiment 50, Captain Sir James Wallace, who defeated a French squadron in Cancale Bay on 13 May.

Transferring to the Torbay 74 which had began recommissioning in December 1779, he arrived in the Leeward Islands during July 1780 and was present at the occupation of St. Eustatius from 3 February 1781, and in the Battle of Fort Royal off Martinique on 29 April when his command was badly damaged. After repairs at Jamaica the Torbay sailed for North America but did not arrive in time to participate in the Battle of the Chesapeake on 5 September. Continuing in the Torbay 74, Gidoin fought at the Battle of St. Kitts on 25-26 January 1782 and at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April 1782.

On 17 October 1782 he was in company with the London 98, Captain James Kempthorne, when they fell in with the French Scipion 74 and Sibylle 40 off San Domingo. The London was faster in the chase and brought the Frenchmen to action at long-range, eventually going yardarm to yardarm with the Scipion. The French sail of the line then managed to rake the London which fell across the Torbay, preventing her from getting to close action. The Scipion was able to make good her escape but sank in Samana Bay after striking a rock the next morning.

Gidoin was promoted rear-admiral on 12 April 1794 and vice-admiral on 1 June 1795. He died in the ensuing winter, being buried at St. George’s Church, Modbury, Devon on 15 February 1796.

He married Mary Legassicke on 15 November 1763 and lived at Modbury then Mothecombe in South Devon. Rear-Admiral James Walker was his protégé.