Character from Aubrey-Maturin series
titles, Ranks Post Captain
Ships crewed or commanded many including HMS Leopard, HMS Surprise, HMS Sophie, HMS Worcester and HMS Bellona
Afictation Royal Navy, East India Trading Company
First Appearance Master and Commander

Thomas Pullings was an officer in the Royal Navy, whose career stretched from the rank of first LT to Post Captain. His family was not well connected, so his prospects of promotion were few, and his advancement was slow and hard. He spent a lot of time being stuck on half-pay, volunteering in other Royal Navy ships (such as the HMS Surprise) and transfering into the East India Trading Company.

Career Edit


Pullings out of uniform

He was born and raised on a Hampshire farm, and joined the Navy at a unknown date, and eventually is serving under Jack Aubrey as a master's mate - a senior midshipman - in his first command HMS Sophie. During the Peace of Amiens, as a Lieutenant without a ship, he transferred to the British East India Company, commanded transport ships (so that he was attached to the British government's Transport Board, though still retaining his nominal rank in the Navy). On one voyage the ship he serves on in the EIC picks up Jack and Stephen Maturin after they escaped France when war was declared by Napoleon. The ship is taken by a French privateer after a fight, on the voyage to France, they are taken by a British warship, and escorted back to England. He later rejoins the Navy, regularly serving as a Lt aboard Aubrey's ships. He was 2nd Lieutenant of the HMS Surprise on her journey to India. He takes over from the first Lieutenant, Mr. Hervey, when the ship arrives in Bombay and Hervey's uncle - the port admiral - has his nephew promoted. He serves with Aubrey on almost every voyage as a Lt including the voyage on the HMS Leopard, when she was chased around Cape Horn, and sank the Waakzaamheid, and on the HMS Worcester surviving in the blockading fleet, during the actions after this on the HMS Surprise against the Turkish ships Torgud and Kitabi, where Tom gets a sabre cut on his cheek and a promotion to commander. He is still without a ship and on half pay when the Surprise (just after her capture of the Turkish frigate and sloop) goes off to hunt the Norfolk, he signs on as a volunteer. He takes a recaptured packet with important letters and other items that were removed by Stephen for intelligence, back to England. He is still not given a ship however when Aubrey is dismissed from the Navy after a false accusation of stock fraud, Pullings again ships as a volunteer on the Surprise in its new character as a letter of marque. He serves as 1st mate. During which they board and take both the Spartan and The Diane, two merchantmen and two gunboats moored at St Matians, with help of several HM ships commanded by Commander William Babbington. When Aubrey was recalled to England for reinstatement into the Navy, Pullings took command of the Surprise and sailed her to the Pacific Ocean on a successful privateering voyage and eventually rendezvoused with Aubrey in the East Indies. During the return trip across the Pacific, Pullings continued to serve Aubrey in a number of roles, including commanding the Surprise or prizes upon occasion. After eventually returning to England and Aubrey’s appointment as Commodore of a squadron for service off the West African coast, Pullings was promoted to Post Captain commanding HMS Bellona, as his Flag-Captain.

Background Edit

Born and raised on a Hampshire farm (probably in the late 1770s or around 1780), Pullings nonetheless came from a nautical family. His grandfather was aboard HMS Wager when that ship was wrecked on the coast of Chile in 1739 and later served as boatswain of HMS Indefatigable. An uncle was Sailing Master of the brig HMS Seagull in 1799. Thomas Pullings was popular and well-respected for his courage and seamanship. He married in 1803 and had at least four children, including a son, John. Despite his marriage, he was known to have formed close attachments to attractive young women on more than one occasion, although it might be suspected that his charms for such companionship may have been diminished by a disfiguring sword blow to the face received in the Torgud action.

Sources Edit


Portrayal Edit

In the 2003 film, Pullings was portrayed by James D'Arcy.