Alex Blair on Admiral Lord Cochrane

PDG Alex Blair is a past president of “Largs and North Ayrshire Family History Society”. He was also the Editor of the society’s magazine for a number of years and is currently President of Hunterston Rotary Club,  “Admiral Lord Cochrane, Earl of Dundonald” was his presentation to Ayr Rotary Club.

Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a Scottish naval officer, peer, mercenary and politician. Serving during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in the Royal Navy, his naval successes led Napoleon to nickname him le Loup des Mers (the Sea Wolf). He was successful in virtually all of his naval actions.

Cochrane was dismissed from the Royal Navy in 1814 after a controversial conviction for fraud on the London Stock Exchange. Travelling to South America, he helped organise and lead the revolutionary navies of Chile and Brazil during their respective wars of independence during the 1820s. While commanding the Chilean Navy, Cochrane also contributed to Peruvian independence through his participation in the Liberating Expedition of Peru. He was also hired to help the Greek Revolutionary Navy during the Greek War of Independence, but ultimately had little impact. In 1832, Cochrane was pardoned by the Crown and reinstated in the Royal Navy with the rank of Rear-Admiral of the Blue. After several more promotions, he died in 1860 with the rank of Admiral of the Red, and the honorary title of Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom.

Cochrane’s life and exploits inspired the naval fiction of 19th and 20th century novelists, particularly the fictional characters C. S. Forester‘s Horatio Hornblower, Patrick O’Brian‘s Jack Aubrey and Russell Crow’s Master and Commander.

Loudon McAndrew gave a worthy vote of thanks