François Thurot


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one of the boldest and most accomplished privateers, born at Nuits, France, the son of a small innkeeper. He was apprenticed to a druggist and then went to sea as a surgeon in a privateer in 1744, during the War of the Austrian Succession (1739–48). He was captured by the British and imprisoned but, like another French privateer, Jean Bart, managed to escape and returned to privateering with great success. During the Seven Years War (1756–63) he was commissioned into the French navy and commanded a frigate. However, his reputation as a privateer was so outstanding that his ship was allowed mainly to act independently against British trade, and he captured many prizes in the North Sea and English Channel. In 1757 he was appointed to a larger frigate and given a regular squadron of six ships with the rank of commodore, though still operating a guerre de course, and was very successful in the number of merchant ships he captured. In 1760 he was dispatched with a force of 1,300 troops to Ireland, for a descent on Carrickfergus and Belfast. However, little was achieved and in the ensuing battle with British men-of-war he was killed.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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