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Hereward 'Harry' Thorburn is a Captain in the Royal Navy. He is played by Sharpie.


Portrait of Harry Thorburn by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1800

Father: Thomas

Mother: Anne

Brothers: Hilary and Meredith

Sisters: Lucinda, Cassandra and Laura

Childhood and Early Career[]

Born into a prosperous farming family in the Fen country near Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, the young Harry Thorburn found himself curious about what lay over the horizon which stretched all around the small village which was his home.

He accompanied his father to the market in Wisbech several times, but found that the trips just made him more curious. Eventually, his parents realised that he would not be happy remaining at home on the farm and his father took him on a journey to Yarmouth, in order to find him a berth aboard his uncle's ship, which was part of the North Sea squadron based there. It was a far cry from the life of a yeoman farmer and the young Thorburn threw himself into learning his trade with a will, working his way up to be master's mate.

Although he took, and passed, his examination in 1790, at the earliest opportunity, he had no interest and could not get a Lieutenant's commission and had to content himself with remaining a master's mate.

Mutiny at the Nore[]

It was in this rank that he got caught up in the Nore mutiny, while serving aboard HMS Inflexible, 64. Despite the ship's involvement in the mutiny, Thorburn's loyalty and actions impressed the senior officers enough that he was finally awarded a commission as a Lieutenant in the frigate San Fiorenzo of 32 guns.

Again, a lack of interest saw his career stall as a Lieutenant until he came to the notice of Lord Nelson himself in 1801 at the Battle of Copenhagen, when he was serving in HMS Elephant. The resulting promotion to full post Captain was the biggest surprise of his career.

He was not at the Battle of Trafalgar, missing on the action by a matter of days due to getting his ship into commission and then finding himself chasing Nelson's pursuit of Villeneuve.

Despite his seeming bad luck, he is a considerate officer, and a sound frigate commander, who has recently been given the command of HMS Terpsichore, a well-built if somewhat elderly frigate.