A famed naval commander in the Napoleonic Wars. But his lack of
political cunning made him enemies, and he was found guilty of
a fraud charge he always denied.
Released from prison, he led the navies of Chile, Brazil and Greece
before becoming Earl of Dundonald, succeeding his father and winning
of the most colourful characters of the era, Thomas Cochrane was
courageous, forward-thinking and adventurous. Originally
an infantry officer, Cochrane joined the Royal Navy and took command
of a small brig, with which he harassed enemy shipping in the
the Sea Wolf, Cochrane's audacity knew almost no bounds. On
one occasion his small ship, the Speedy, took on and boarded a
Spanish frigate - that had at least six times as many men - and
forced its surrender.
his naval reputation grew, Cochrane found himself more and more
at odds with the political chiefs of his time. He was a Member
of Parliament from 1807 and his outspoken criticism of naval corruption
infuriated his commanders.
his uncle was charged with being part of the great Stock Exchange
Fraud in 1814, Cochrane's enemies ensured he would be implicated
and the innocent Sea Wolf found himself languishing in prison.
Released after a year, Cochrane then gave his services to the
navies of Brazil, Chile and Greece.
name was officially cleared in 1832 and he rejoined the Royal
Navy, serving in North America and the West Indies. He
was a firm believer in steamships and one of his pet projects
was the idea of using toxic gas in combat.