1757 - 1833
Attributed to William Grimaldi
Thomas Foley was born near Narberth in South Wales in 1757. He went to sea at the age of 13 as a Midshipman in Otter. After three years he transferred to the flagship, Antelope, where he saw action in the West Indian and American campaigns. Promoted Lieutenant he saw action in the Channel before appointment to the Channel flagship Prince George. With Lt Richard Keats he was responsible for overseeing the training of Midshipman Prince William, later to become King William IV.
In 1793, with the outbreak of the French war, Thomas Foley was sent to the Mediterranean as Flag Captain in St. George. He took part in the actions of the 1st June 1794 (Glorious First of June) and in 1796 was transferred to Britannia.
Thomas Foley was flag captain in Britannia at St. Vincent. He later led Nelson's fleet into action at the Nile (1798) in Goliath and was flag-captain to Nelson at Copenhagen (1801). Thomas Foley missed Trafalgar through ill health and died in 1833 as Commander in Chief, Portsmouth. The painting shows him as Admiral Sir Thomas Foley, wearing his St. Vincent and Nile medals.
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Page creation: Peter Milford - St Vincent College, February 1997