Thomas Lenox Frederick

1750-1799. He was born in London on 25 March 1750, the second son of Sir Charles Frederick who served as M.P for Queenborough and became the surveyor-general of the Ordnance. His mother, Hon. Lucy Boscawen, was the ninth daughter of Lord Falmouth and the sister of Admiral Hon Edward Boscawen.

Frederick entered the Navy in 1768 after receiving a good education, particularly in mathematics. He was commissioned lieutenant on 12 March 1770 and promoted commander of the Spy 14 on 11 October 1776, which vessel was wrecked off Newfoundland during the dark hours of 16 June 1778. He next had command of the Swift 14, and he commissioned the new Fairy 14 in the middle of December, retaining her until August 1779 and taking the privateers Dunkerquoise on 24 May 1779 and Marauder on 19 June.

392px-Portrait_of_Vice_Admiral_Sir_Thomas_L._Frederick

Thomas Lenox Frederick

After being posted captain on 14 July 1779 he commissioned the frigate Unicorn 20 shortly afterwards and participated in the recapture of the Hope 14 on 19 August. The Unicorn was in turn captured by two French sail of the line and a frigate off Tortuga on 4 September 1780, although this loss was not without a conspicuous resistance, with Frederick losing four men killed and thirteen wounded. The Unicorn would later be recaptured as the Licorne 20 by the Resource 28, Captain Bartholomew Rowley, on 20 April 1781 in the West Indies.

After imprisonment on Martinique Frederick was exchanged and returned to duty, being charged with commissioning the new the Diomede 44 at the end of 1781. He went out to North America in June 1782, and in company with the Quebec 32, Captain Christopher Mason, and Astrea 32, Captain Matthew Squire, captured the heavy rebel American frigate South Carolina 40 on 20 December 1782 after an eighteen hour chase. He remained with the Diomede through to December of the following year when she was paid off.

During May 1790 he commissioned the new Romulus 44 for service in home waters and in watch over Brest during the following year before paying her off in September 1791.

In January 1793 Frederick recommissioned the Illustrious 74, going out to the Mediterranean in April. From 22 August 1793 he was present at the occupation of Toulon and he later commanded this vessel in the siege of Bastia in the early part of 1794. The Illustrious fought at the Battle of Genoa on 13/14 March 1795, being in the fore of the action and losing all but her lower foremast, together with twenty men killed and seventy wounded. She was later taken in tow by the Meleager, but in increasingly bad weather she parted company five days later, her jury masts tumbling overboard. Later that day the pilot ran the Illustrious ashore between Spezzia and Leghorn where she was set on fire, the men being rescued by other ships of the fleet. For a third time in his career Frederick faced, and survived, a court martial into the loss of his ship.

After returning home overland from Leghorn, during which journey he visited a sister living in Italy, he was appointed to the Blenheim 98 in June 1795 which he commanded in the Mediterranean, and on which he raised a commodore’s broad pennant. He also briefly flew the flag of Rear-Admiral William Parker in 1797. On 14 February 1797 he commanded the Blenheim at the Battle of St. Vincent, providing excellent support to the Culloden 74, Captain Thomas Troubridge, and causing a great degree of damage to the Santisima Trinidad 130. During the engagement the Blenheim lost twelve men killed and forty-seven wounded, this being the second heaviest casualty figure in the fleet.

Frederick was promoted rear-admiral on 20 February 1797, and in March returned home to remain on half-pay until the beginning of November. Hoisting his flag aboard the Flora 36, Captain Robert Gambier Middleton, he went out to Lisbon with a convoy, arriving in January 1798 where he transferred his flag to the hospital ship Dolphin, Commander Josiah Nesbit. By now he was in very poor health, and although he did recover enough to raise his flag in February aboard the Blenheim, Captain Robert Campbell, he spent some time in command at Gibraltar, living ashore whilst he battled his illness.

In the autumn of 1798 he transferred to the Princess Royal 98, his flag-captain being John William Taylor Dixon, and this vessel participated in the pursuit of Vice-Admiral Eustache Bruix’s fleet following it’s breakout from the Brest on the 25 April 1799, Frederick’s health continued to decline however and the Princess Royal took him back to Torbay in September.

Admiral Fredrick survived but a further month and he died in Nottingham Place, London, on 7 October 1799.

He married Annie Greigson at Stoke Damarel, Devon, on 2 June 1773 and although the marriage bore no issue he did have many young followers and relatives in the service. His nephew, Thomas Lennox Prescott, served with him on the Romulus, Blenheim and Princess Royal, and was promoted commander in 1839.