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Famous Admiral remembered

The bust in Culross of Admiral CochraneA memorial to Admiral Thomas Cochrane, whose life formed the inspiration for the daring fictional naval hero Horatio Hornblower, has been unveiled in Culross, where he grew up.

The impressive tribute to Scotland's greatest naval hero has come about largely through the efforts of Culross Community Council, whose members were conscious that the life of Cochrane was celebrated in many South American countries and Greece, but not in his home land.

Born in Ayrshire in 1775, Cochrane spent his childhood and formative years at Abbey House in Culross, then home of the Earls of Dundonald, before joining the Royal Navy.

Prior to the unveiling of the plinth and bust in the Town Square, the only reference to Cochrane in Culross was a plaque and housing development, Cochrane Haven.

During his time with the Royal Navy, he gained distinction against the French, being dubbed "le loup de mer" (The Sea Wolf), by Napolean, after a series of sensational victories in his sloop, the Speedy.

Worshipped by his men, Cochrane's success also owned much to his unpredictable tactics, the result of a highly inventive mind and to his remorseless valour.

In 1818 he sailed to South America as Naval Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Navy, then engaged in throwing off Spanish Colonial rule.

He routed the Spanish and then the Portuguese, both on sea and land, as Admiral of the Chilean, then of the Peruvian, and finally Brazilian Navies.

In 1831 he succeeded his father's title as the 10th Earl of Dundonald.

Also an MP and great inventor, he was buried in Westminster Abbey, London, in 1860.
The bronze bust was gifted to the people of Culross by Lord Bruce, who received it from the Ministry of Defence.

Community Council Chairman, Roy McCormack, said the project to provide a memorial in Culross was promoted by the many visitors from South America who asked where the Cochrane statue was to be found.

"It seemed ridiculous that he was better known in South America and Greece than he was in his own country," said Roy.

The Community Council received great support from Fife Council, Scottish Enterprise Fife, Fife Environment Trust, the Scottish Executive, the current Earl of Dundonald and local businessman Lionel Mill, who has financed a temporary exhibition about Cochrane in the Town House.

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