Having gained freedom for three South American countries, Cochrane sailed back to Europe and attempted to liberate Greece from the Ottoman Empire. He never gave up the right to prove his innocence, however, and was restored to the navy list in 1832, and given back his knighthood by Queen Victoria in 1847. Finally, in 1832, Cochrane was reinstated in the Royal Navy in the rank of Admiral. Royal Navy officer Thomas Cochrane (1775–1860) was a notorious naval officer and the real-life ‘Master and Commander’. Master and Commander is a nautical historical novel by the English author Patrick O'Brian, first published in 1969 in the US and 1970 in UK.The book proved to be the start of the 20-novel Aubrey–Maturin series, set largely in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, that O'Brian continued working on up until his death in 2000.. He took command of the Chilean navy and led them towards independence from Spain. Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marquess of Maranhão, GCB, ODM, OSC (14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a Scottish naval flag officer of the Royal Navy, mercenary and radical politician. Thomas Cochrane was the son of a minor Scottish aristocrat, and although his father’s preoccupations appear to have involved many weird and wonderful inventions, his family background was one with a distinguished military service history. Exhibition: Admiral Cochrane - the Real Master and Commander, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until February 19 2012 The fictional heroes based on Lord Cochrane, such as CS Forester's Hornblower and Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey, are better known than the historical figure behind them, but only in his home country, as the opening video of this exhibition highlights. By flying an American flag, Cochrane managed to get the Speedy so close to the Spanish that they couldn’t angle their cannons to fire at the their hull. Despite Cochrane's protests of innocence, the conviction saw his expulsion from Parliament and the Royal Navy. In the confusion of the attack, all but two of the French ships were driven hard on shore. He was successful in virtually all his naval actions. He then moved on to Brazil and offered a helping hand in their fight for independence from Portugal. Author of Lincoln and His Admirals (winner of the Lincoln Prize), The Battle... Nelson's Arctic Voyage The Royal Navy's First Polar Expedition 1773. He was a daring and successful captain of the Napoleonic Wars, leading Napoleon to nickname him Le Loup des Mers, 'The Sea Wolf'. He continued to be extremely successful in marine warfare, every movement was meticulously planned and executed to minimise the loss of his men. He also opposed a vote of thanks to Gambier in Parliament, which effectively ruined his naval career. With no further naval employment Cochrane returned to his other role, as an MP in the House of Commons, but in 1814 he was convicted of fraud on the stock exchange. The sale of a large amount of government based stocks the same day lead to an investigation of those involved, one of whom was Cochrane’s uncle, Andrew Cochrane-Johnstone. He even lost allies in his rather over enthusiastic defence of Francis Burdett. He became one of the most successful and bold captains of the Napoleonic wars; the French nicknamed him “le loup des mers”, or the “sea wolf”, but his time with the Navy was fraught with conflicts; with his superiors, subordinates, equals, even those he could have had natural alliances with. The Scotsman entered the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1793 and was quickly promoted on merit to lieutenant two years later. He was the inspiration for novelist Patrick O’Brian’s fictitious character Captain Jack Aubrey, played by Russell Crowe in the 2003 film, Master and Commander. In April 1809, Cochrane led a successful fireship attack on a powerful French squadron anchored in Basque Roads, off Rochefort. During his career Cochrane always strived to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Royal Navy. And he strived onwards, campaigning for parliamentary reform alongside fellow radicals like Sir Francis Burdett. In the end, Cochrane and crew boarded the El Gamo, despite being vastly outnumbered, and successfully seized her. Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, had one of the most extraordinary and controversial naval careers of the 19th century. Born in Annsfield in South Lanarkshire on 14th December 1775, Thomas spent much of his early life roaming the family’s estate in Culross, Fife. A late starter in the navy, Thomas signed up at the tender age of 17 in 1793, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary Wars in France, joining his uncle Captain Alexander Cochrane aboard HMS Hind. You may perhaps be more familiar with his exploits as fictionalised in C S Forester’s Hornblower novels, or as Jack Aubrey, in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey – Maturin series. Royal Navy officer Thomas Cochrane (1775–1860) was a notorious naval officer and the real-life ‘Master and Commander’. The second escape was a stroke of genius; the enemy was chasing them by night, following the light from the Speedy. This scam involved the fabrication of a story that Napoleon had been defeated, which sparked a colossal rise in the value of government securities. Before his name was restored, Cochrane left Britain for South America. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Cochrane decided to approach the defence of the house in the same manner he did when defending against enemy attack; there was potential for great loss of life for the guards of the House of Commons, as well as damage to Burdett’s house and surrounding area! The enemy frigate followed the glimmering light allowing Cochrane and his ship HMS Speedy to escape. This left the Spanish one option; to board their opponent’s ship. He also led the Chilean fleet to help gain independence from Spain for Peru too. While in command of HM sloop Speedy, Cochrane captured over 50 vessels in the Mediterranean, including El Gamo, a powerful Spanish frigate with twice the firepower of the Speedy and over six times as many men and marines. He is one of Britain's most extraordinary naval heroes and his life is summarized in his own Autobiography of a Seaman, published in the year of his death. No one could have envisaged that this child would, in his lifetime, become one of England’s greatest heroes…. 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