Thomas Lloyd (1)

Died 1780.

Lloyd was commissioned lieutenant on 17 September 1764.

Serving on the Jamaican station, he was promoted commander on 10 July 1776 by Vice-Admiral Clark Gayton and appointed to the sloop Atalanta 14. On 29 November he sailed for Pensacola from Jamaica with a small convoy of two vessels, and towards the end of the year he arrived at New York with a privateer and two richly laden prizes. He was back in the Caribbean by 15 February 1777 to deliver a letter to the Spanish governor at Havana, and he later patrolled off the coast of Spanish Louisiana on the lookout for rebel privateers.

In April 1777 Lloyd entered into a correspondence with the Spanish governor of Louisiana to seek the release of eleven British merchantmen that had been impounded at New Orleans for alleged smuggling, and in the same month he opened fire on one Spanish merchantman and boarded a French vessel over concerns that they were selling goods to the rebellious Americans. With matters escalating, Lloyd held a most acrimonious meeting with the governor, but once the British merchants in New Orleans advised a conciliatory approach, and with fears that his sickly crew might attempt desertion, Lloyd referred the matter up the diplomatic chain and sailed for Pensacola.

On 25 June 1778 it was reported that the Atalanta had returned to London express from Pensacola, having been dispatched on 12 April by the governor of West Florida with the intelligence that the American Congress had sent forces down the Mississippi against that colony. The sloop then went around to Sheerness to be refitted, whereupon Lloyd left her.

He was posted captain on 24 July 1778 and commissioned a recently purchased East Indiaman as the Hydra 24 at Deptford, being sent to the Cove of Cork to protect the trade in September. In February 1779 it was reported that she had returned from America to be copper sheathed and refitted at Chatham, and on 19 March she departed for Blackstakes to take on powder and guns. She then sailed north for Leith in April to embark troops on five transports and take in convoy the trade for London. Departing the Scottish port on 1 May, she arrived at Deal a fortnight later, then proceeded with the troops to Jersey before entering Portsmouth on 9 June. A further visit to Guernsey was followed by service off Le Havre with Commodore George Johnstone’s squadron, and on 31 August she came into Portsmouth with several vessels under convoy from Guernsey.

At the end of October 1779 Lloyd commissioned the Laurel 28 which had recently been launched at Southampton, and which entered dock at Portsmouth to be copper sheathed on the last day of the month. In early January 1780 she went out of Portsmouth on a cruise with a small squadron, and at the end of February sailed for Cork to collect the trade, although due to adverse weather she did not arrive until 16 March. She eventually left the Irish port on 14 April with two other frigates and the West Indies convoy.

Captain Lloyd lost his life with most of his crew when on 11 October 1780 the Laurel was driven ashore and smashed to splinters on the east coast of Martinique during the Great Hurricanes. Local French reports suggested that she was wrecked upon the ‘quays of Macabou’, that only seventeen men out of a crew of two hundred and fifty were saved, and that Lloyd had been on the verge of escaping with his life when a falling mast had struck him down.