Captain Sir Henry Trollope

Sir Henry Trollope was the son of the Reverend John Trollope of Bucklebury, Berkshire. He was born on Apri 20, 1756. His father was a younger brother of the minor nobility and had the family connections to get Henry posted to the flagship of Rear Admiral John Montagu when he was sent to sea in April 1771. Montagu remained his patron. He returned home in 1774 and immediately joined HMS Asia under Captain George Vandeput which was returning to North America.

Trollope demonstrated himself to be a young officer of energy. He participated, of his own volition, in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill by joining the boats sent by HMS Asia to cover the retreat from Lexington and the landings at Bunker Hill. He returned to England in 1777 and was promoted to lieutenant in April of that year. In 1778 he received his first command, HMS Kite, a cutter carrying ten four-pounders. His energy was noted by his admiral who remarked that Kite had brought in three times the prizes of any other ship under his command. He also began to exhibit the dash that was to characterize his later career. On March 30, 1779, Kite attacked a much larger French privateer saving several British merchantmen from capture. The next day he attacked an 18-gun French brig, gaining Trollope a promotion to commander on April 16, 1779.

He continued to make a name for himself by the energy with which he commanded Kite and in June 1781 was promoted to post rank and given the frigate Myrmidon (20). From there he went to Rainbow, his experience there discussed at the link, where he stayed until the Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution and the war with France. Trollope had amassed some wealth and he spent the next eight years on half pay living in a fairly large manner in the Welsh countryside. There was a war scare with Spain in 1790 and Trollope was called back to active duty and given Prudente (38). When the crisis ended his ship was paid off and he was assigned to Hussar (38) and sent to the Mediterranean. He returned to England in 1792 and retired back to his life as a country gentleman.

In 1795, he was again recalled and given HMS Glatton.

He served with distinction during The Nore Mutiny, keeping Glatton from joining the mutiny and discouraging two other ships from joining also. For this he was appointed into Russell (74). From Russell he was promoted to Juste (80) and on January 1, 1801 hoisted his flag as rear admiral.

Trollope was one of the many officers who had differences with Sir John Jervis, Lord St. Vincent. St. Vincent was then commander in chief of the Channel Fleet and Trollope declined to serve under him. The next year St. Vincent became First Lord of the Admiralty and Trollope’s career was at an end. His health was broken before St. Vincent retired in 1807. Apparently he had gone through his prize money and 1805 found Trollope unable to walk because of gout and broke. He petitioned the Crown for a pension above and beyond his half-pay and was declined. Under the seniority system, he continued to advance in rank being promoted to admiral in 1812. Amazingly, his gout went into remission and he regained the ability to walk in 1816. He received other honors later in life but seems to have developed a mental disorder similar to, if not, paranoia. He became obsessed with the idea that someone was going to break into his house and rob him. On November 2, 1839 he locked himself in his room and shot himself in the head. He is buried at St. James’s Church, Bath. He was a widower and left no children.


Filed under Age of Sail, Naval Biography

3 responses to “Captain Sir Henry Trollope

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