William Truscott

1734-98. He was born on 25 November 1734, one of twelve children of John Truscott of Resugga, St. Stephens Brannell, Cornwall, and of his wife Margaret.

Truscott entered the navy under the patronage of Captain Lord Edgcumbe and his fellow Cornishman, Rear-Admiral Hon. Edward Boscawen, and he saw early service in the East Indies.

On 8 February 1757 he was commissioned lieutenant of the Newcastle 50, and he took command of this ship when her captain, Colin Michie, was killed shortly after the commencement of the action between Vice-Admiral George Pocock and the Comte d’Ache off Pondicherry on 10 September 1759. All of Truscott’s fellow officers became casualties in this action, with thirty-five men being killed and seventy-seven wounded.

He was present aboard the Namur 90, Captain John Harrison, flagship of Admiral Sir George Pocock in the expedition to Havana in 1762, and after being promoted commander on 17 August he joined the cutter Lurcher 6 on the Jamaican station, a vessel he retained into the following year on that station, following which he had the Cygnet 18.

Other than being captain of the Exeter Impressment service in 1770-1 Truscott endured fourteen years of unemployment before he commissioned the American-built Grasshopper 14 at the beginning of 1777. After cruising in the Leeward Islands during the summer she went aground in the Antiguan Roads on 3 December without suffering any significant damage. He then briefly commanded the Cygnet 14 in the Leeward Islands during 1778.

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Captain Truscott fought in several major battles including that of Grenada in 1779

Having returned home, Truscott was posted captain on 14 December 1778, and he joined the Elizabeth 74 on a temporary basis for Captain Hon Frederick Lewis Maitland, who was otherwise engaged in the court-martials relating to the Battle of Ushant. He took the Elizabeth out to the Leeward Islands and fought at the Battle of Grenada on 6 July 1779, being succeeded on the last day of that month by the returning Maitland with whom he briefly exchanged into the Vengeance 74, and in which he assisted in the capture of three French frigates in December.

In 1780, having further exchanged into Commodore William Hotham’s Preston 50, Truscott took part in the Leeward Islands campaign including the fleet skirmishes in May where his command suffered three men wounded. The Preston remained at St. Lucia when the fleet headed north during the autumn and was paid off at the end of the year after returning to England with a convoy.

Truscott commanded the Buffalo 60 at the Battle of the Doggersbank on 5 August 1781, suffering losses of twenty men killed and sixty-four wounded, and after joining the Nonsuch 64 in September he served with the Channel fleet in the autumn. Going out to the Leeward Islands with Admiral Sir George Rodney in January 1782, he fought at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April, and after sailing to North America with the fleet he returned to England with a body of Hessian troops to be paid off at Chatham in August 1783.

He recommissioned the Ganges 74 in January 1794 and served under Rear-Admiral George Montagu at the time of the Battle of the Glorious First of June. The Ganges went out to the Leeward Islands in October, and at the end of the same month assisted the Montagu 74, Captain William Fooks, in the capture of the Jacobin 24.

Truscott was promoted rear-admiral on 1 June 1795 and died after a short illness on 31 January 1798 at Exeter. His address at the time of his death was given as St. Sidwell’s, Exeter, Devon.

He married Mary Crowther and had six sons and three daughters, with three of the former entering the navy, two the army, and the other became a physician. His sixth son, George Truscott, retired with the rank of captain in 1845 whilst another son, John, became a lieutenant-general.

Truscott lost part of two fingers whilst on active service.