Samuel Granston Goodall

Died 1801.

Little is known of Goodall’s origins and early career, other than that he entered the Navy in the 1750’s, and having been commissioned lieutenant on 1 September 1756, he was promoted commander of the sloop Hazard 8 on 2 June 1760, undertaking service in the North Sea. On 7 August he cut out the French privateer Duc d’Ayen 8, together with her prize, a Dublin sloop, from their anchorage off Egersund on the south-west coast of Norway. This action spawned much correspondence over the alleged infringement of Danish neutrality, with Goodall insisting that the Frenchman had taken prizes within a league of the shore, and that the Danes had failed to offer neutrals their protection. Both vessels were carried into Leith. On 8 October, the Hazard sailed from Leith for London with a convoy, and by the spring of 1761 she was serving in the Downs, where she remained though the summer.

On 13 January 1762 he was posted captain of the Mercury 20, joining her at Portsmouth and sailing around to Plymouth from where she departed in March with a tender carrying wine for Admiral Sir George Pocock’s fleet in the West Indies. He served in the campaign to capture Havana in the summer, with his men taking possession of a strategic castle on 7 June, and his command later being ordered to fire into woods at night after a large body of the enemy had been seen near the shore. During 1763 the Mercury was employed off Georgia and at Charleston, where in November it was reported that work would be required to allow her to put to sea in safety. She eventually returned home in March 1764 to be paid off at Sheerness at the end of that month.

640px-Combat_d'Ouessant_juillet_1778_par_Theodore_Gudin (1)

The Battle of Ushant 1778

Goodall was appointed to the newly commissioned Winchelsea 32 at Chatham in February 1769, which frigate sailed from Plymouth for Gibraltar in May. On 3 October she put out from Cadiz, but with the wind proving violent she endeavoured to return two days later, only to go aground on a sand bar at high tide in the entrance to the bay. Boats from two French frigates came to her assistance and she was got off with the loss of all three masts, requiring her to set sail for Gibraltar under a jury rig a week later. In May 1770 she was at Lisbon, and she later visited Leghorn. Shortly afterwards, she was dispatched to Turkish waters with instructions to protect British interests, in the course of which duty she witnessed the Russian-Turkish naval Battle of Chesme on 6-7 July. During 1771 the Winchelsea was back in the western Mediterranean, and in April of the following year she returned to Portsmouth to be paid off in May.

On 18 February 1778, after six years on the beach, Goodall was appointed to the newly commissioned sail-of-the-line Defiance 64, and on 27 July he commanded her at the Battle of Ushant, suffering casualties of eight men killed and seventeen men wounded. Remaining with the Grand Fleet through the autumn, his command put out with Vice-Admiral Lord Molyneux Shuldham’s fleet at the end of the year in escort of several convoys. In January 1779 Goodall was a witness at Admiral Hon. Augustus Keppel’s court-martial which investigated that officer’s management of the Battle of Ushant. His evidence was reported to be concise, although other than to confirm his great respect for the commander-in-chief, he refused to offer an opinion on Keppel’s conduct when requested to do so by Vice-Admiral John Montagu.

On 20 March 1779 he was appointed to the Valiant 74, serving in the Grand Fleet, and in April he was a member of the court martial that investigated Vice-Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser’s conduct at the Battle of Ushant. His appearance as one of the judges was criticised in the House of Commons by Whig politicians led by Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox, who believed that he should instead have been summoned as a witness, and that his opinion on Palliser’s conduct was pre-conceived in its favourability.

The Valiant sailed to join the Grand Fleet on 5 August 1779, and after participating in the Channel Fleet’s retreat that month, she was with Commodore Charles Fielding’s squadron which detained a Dutch convoy commanded by Count Van Bylandt on 31 December. In early 1780 Goodall took a squadron of one 50-gun vessel, a frigate, and several smaller vessels out on a cruise, and by early February he was back at sea with the Valiant and three frigates seeking to intercept a Dutch convoy carrying stores into Brest, during which voyage he took several prizes. In June his command was in dock at Portsmouth prior to going out of the harbour to Spithead on 1 July, and although she was initially appointed to take a convoy out to St. Helena, she was then ordered to join Admiral Francis Geary’s Channel Fleet, serving in the campaign through to December, and coming into Spithead with the fleet on Christmas Eve.

On 4 January 1781, in company with the Courageux 74, Captain Lord Mulgrave, the Valiant captured the French frigate Minerve 32 after her most gallant resistance, and this vessel, the ex-British Minerva, was bought into the Navy under the appropriate name of ‘Recovery’. At the end of January the Valiant was in Plymouth Sound, and she was subsequently present at the Relief of Gibraltar on 12 April. Continuing with the Channel Fleet during its campaign from June to November, she was a participant in Rear-Admiral Richard Kempenfelt’s brilliant action with the Comte de Guichen on 12 December.

640px-Capnoli (1)

The action of 13-14 March 1795 where Goodall displayed his fury with Admiral Hotham for his uninspired management of the battle

On 15 January 1782 the Valiant sailed from Portsmouth in the wake of Admiral Sir George Rodney’s reinforcements which were already in passage to the Leeward Islands, and she arrived in the Caribbean at the end of February. Goodall commanded her at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April, where she lost a lieutenant and nine men killed in addition to another lieutenant, the master, and twenty-six men wounded. In the aftermath of the battle, the Valiant’s speed allowed her to out-sail her consorts in the Mona Passage on 19 April and to force the surrender of both the damaged Caton 64 and the Jason 64, a not inconsiderable feat given that each of these ships outmanned Goodall’s command. When the news of the battle reached home, it was reported in many newspapers that Goodall had been killed in action with the French on 20 April. Happily, these accounts were ill-founded.

After sailing to North America in July 1782 with the Leeward Islands Fleet under the new commander-in-chief, Admiral Hugh Pigot, the Valiant returned to join the blockade of Cap François at the end of the year. In February 1783 she arrived at Jamaica with Rear-Admiral Lord Hood’s squadron, and she returned to England at the peace, reaching Portsmouth on 27 June with Hood and sailing to Plymouth at the beginning of July to be paid off.

Goodall remained on the beach for the first six years following the peace of 1783, but he was clearly well thought of, for in early August 1789 he took command of a squadron of observation in the Channel numbering seven sail of the line, and with his broad pennant aboard the Carnatic 74, Captain John Ford. In this capacity, he staged a mock battle for the delectation of the King during the Plymouth Naval Review on 18 August. During October 1790 he was a member of the court-martial that tried Captain William Bligh for the loss of the Bounty in April 1789, and in May 1790 he hoisted his broad pennant aboard the Gibraltar 80 at the commencement of the Spanish Armament.

On 21 September 1790 he was promoted rear-admiral, and he raised his flag at Portsmouth aboard the London 98, Captain George Westcott. During January 1791 he was commanding a dozen sail of the line at Spithead with instructions not to allow any officers ashore lest the fleet be required to put to sea, in which case it would have been placed under the command of Vice-Admiral Lord Hood. On 4 April his flagship put out of Portsmouth Harbour and Goodall hoisted his flag aboard her in the expectation of taking up the command of the Mediterranean station; however, he remained employed in home waters under the orders of Vice-Admiral Lord Hood during the Russian Armament of 1791.

With his appointment to the Mediterranean still pending, it was not until June 1792 with his flag aboard the Romney 50, Captain William Domett, that Goodall sailed for his station. Amongst his first tasks were visits to Leghorn and Genoa, and during the autumn he brought the British consul away from Nice when republican fervour in France began to take hold.

When war did break out with France in February 1793, Goodall’s squadron, which at that time consisted of one 74, a 50-gun vessel and a couple of frigates, soon began sending prizes into Gibraltar, whilst it was also required to escort the Mediterranean trade out past Cape St. Vincent. In April he raised his flag at Gibraltar aboard the Princess Royal 98, Captain John Child Purvis, and in June he became the second-in-command in the Mediterranean following the arrival of the new commander-in-chief, Vice-Admiral Lord Hood. He was with the fleet at the Occupation of Toulon from August, being appointed the city’s governor pending the arrival of a diplomat to fill that post, and after Toulon was evacuated at the end of the year, he was praised for his conduct in the Corsican Campaign which began in February 1794.

Goodall was promoted vice-admiral on 12 April 1794, and he was the second in command to Vice-Admiral William Hotham in the Mediterranean during 1795, being conspicuous with Captain Horatio Nelson in trying to force the new commander-in-chief to continue the action with the French after the Battle of Genoa on 13-14 March. During this engagement, his flagship lost three men killed and eight wounded. He subsequently fought at the Battle of the Hyères Islands on 13 July, but at the end of the year he struck his flag, officially on account of his ill-health, but supposedly because of his discontent at not having been offered the command of the fleet upon Hotham’s retirement.

He did not see any further employment, and although he attended the service celebrating the naval victories at St. Pauls Cathedral in December 1797, he otherwise retired into obscurity. He became an admiral on 14 February 1799, and he died unmarried at Teignmouth on 21 April 1801, his funeral being somewhat of a curiosity in so much that his coffin was borne by six aged seamen in the company of six maidens.

Goodall was highly esteemed by Nelson with whom he maintained a regular correspondence. His character can be best illustrated by his display of fury with Admiral Hotham during the insipid actions with the French in 1795, when he resorted to kicking his hat around the deck, so incandescent with rage was he at the commander-in-chief’s decision to discontinue the action. A friend of Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser, he displayed a kind disposition to his midshipman, allowing one future admiral, Lord Saumarez, to make use of his library.