Thomas Drury

1750-1832. He was the fourth child but the eldest son of the Reverend George Drury, the rector of Claydon in Suffolk, and of his wife, Elizabeth Cavell.

Drury was commissioned lieutenant on 18 March 1773 and joined the Alarm, 32 Captain John Stott, serving in the Mediterranean for some time thereafter.

He was promoted commander on 1 March 1779, and having recommissioned the Cygnet 14 he witnessed the action in Cancale Bay on 13 May as part of Captain John Lewis Gidoin’s squadron. After sailing for Newfoundland in June he captured the American vessels Spitfire 12 on 5 May 1780, Tiger 12 on 8 June, and Saratoga 12 on 23 June, on the latter occasion being in company with the Maidstone 28, Captain William Parker.

In March 1781 Drury was appointed to commission the new Cameleon 14 with which he joined the squadron in the Downs. On 14 August 1781 his sloop fell in with a Dutch dogger of 16 guns in the North Sea, and after an intense forty-five minute duel his opponent blew up with the loss of all hands. Drury was one of thirteen casualties aboard the Cameleon, and it was necessary to extinguish a blaze upon his command after she been set alight by the burning wreckage of the Dutch vessel.

He was posted captain on 12 March 1782, and in May of the following year was appointed to the Myrmidon 24, serving in the Downs and the North Sea, and escorting to Copenhagen a yacht which had been gifted to the Danish crown prince.

In January 1793 Drury was appointed to the frigate Fox 32 in which he proceeded to Newfoundland in May, being thereafter employed in convoy duty and cruising. He briefly had the captaincy of the Flora 36 in the last two months of 1794 on Channel service.

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The French frigate Galathee – Drury captured her sister ship, the Renommee in 1796

In late 1795 he was appointed to the Fortitude 74 which had lately returned from the Mediterranean, transferring shortly afterwards to the Alfred 74. With this vessel he joined Rear-Admiral Hugh Cloberry Christian’s force which sailed on 16 November 1795 to restore order in the Leeward Islands but was immediately beset by ferocious storms. The Alfred eventually struggled into Plymouth on 15 December without her main, mizzen and foretopmasts, and having lost seven men overboard when the main mast had toppled.

The Alfred eventually sailed for the Leeward Islands with Vice-Admiral Hon William Cornwallis in the spring of 1796, and she captured the French corvette Favorite 22 off Cape Finisterre on 18 March. Later transferring to the Jamaican station, the Alfred took the two-year-old French frigate Renommée 36 with two broadsides off San Domingo on 12 July. She returned to England in the autumn after serving in the Leeward Islands campaign from April to June 1796 and Drury left her in January 1797 to be replaced in a temporary capacity by Captain Thomas Totty.

He did not serve afloat again but became a rear-admiral on 23 April 1804, acted as a pallbearer at Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson’s funeral on 9 January 1806, was promoted vice-admiral on 28 April 1808, and admiral on 4 June 1814. He died on 5 September 1832 at Bruges.

Drury’s widow, Elizabeth, died in Kingston, Jamaica in 1845. One of his sons, Charles Thomas Augustus, had earlier died at Jamaica on 24 August 1822 at the age of twenty-two, whilst he had another son, George. He was the uncle of Captain Augustus Vere Drury.