It was Midshipman Thomas Edward Symonds who introduced his Captain, John Whitby, to his sister Theresa as they berthed in Plymouth in May 1802. The wedding, just over five months later, was to have long-lasting implications for Milford.
Symonds’ own marriage was also dramatic, but in a very different way: not only did he abduct his wife when she was eleven years of age, but went on to marry her twice.
The Touzi Twins
In June 1809, he had intercepted a French vessel off Saint Domingo carrying the Creole orphaned twin daughters of Lieutenant François Joseph Touzi of the French navy and Anne Careaud. Thomas Edward took them to England where they were brought up by Mrs M A T Whitby qv, and scandalised society by marrying the younger twin, Lucinde, when she was still only sixteen. Confused by the operation of the French revolutionary calendar, and fearing that he had married a minor, he married her again two years later. Their marriage was long and happy, bringing up ten children at their home at Tweed Cottage, Boldre. Two of the daughters, Anne & Juliana, were still living at Milford in 1871.
Symonds’ naval career was rather less dramatic, serving in all only seventeen years on full pay. This was sufficient for him to be promoted to Post Captain in 1813, and to be promoted progressively on the retired list to full Admiral by 1861. He took responsibility for other members of the Symonds family, and played his part in local affairs as Chairman of the Lymington Workhouse Union.
John Gask, Les Jumelles and Their Families: a Companion Volume to Les Jumelles 1826
Barry Jolly, Mrs Whitby’s Locket, 2011, Milford-on-Sea Historical Record Society.
Barry Jolly, The Family of Captain Thomas Symonds at Milford in Milford-on-Sea Historical Record Society Occasional Magazine 2016.
William R. O’Byrne A Naval Biographical Dictionary – Volume 3 1849.
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