In the novelEdit
Finch was a frail man with wispy hair, pale blue eyes, described as a simple man, he had the firm conviction he could see God in the maintop.
Finch's station was in the mizzentop, and from there he would look at the maintop for God. On one occasion, he found his customary place occupied by Horatio Hornblower, who allowed him to come up as well. After a while, Finch remarked that "God's in the maintop, and the Devil's in the cable tier" during the dog watches.
Hornblower decided to investigate the cable tier after this, and found out that some men of his division were gambling on a grotesque contest. Styles was in the centre of a ring with his hands tied behind his back, and was accompanied by a number of rats. The contest was to see how many rats he could catch and kill with just his teeth. Sometimes the rats won by biting him in the face producing wounds which Styles explained as being boils. Hornblower could have inflicted some serious consequences for their actions, but, he simply warned them that if they were caught again, there would be a price to pay.
When the Indefatigable was attacked by a French ship, Finch and Hornblower manned the swivel-gun in the mizzen-top. In the action, the mast fell, but the topmast caught against the mainyard, leaving the mast hanging there precariously. Hornblower and Finch clung on to the swivel gun for dear life, but the mast was still falling. Hornblower saw that the only chance for survival was to get to the maintop, but Finch did not understand, until Hornblower told him to "go along to God". Finch complied and made the jump.
In the TV seriesEdit
When the sailors were put on half rations on account of the lack of supplies, Finch fell ill, saying "his lungs [had] caught a wind" the loss of his teeth and the subsequent illness suggested scurvy.
Hornblower, who was studying for his examination for lieutenant, told Finch to test him on the things he'd learned, to keep him awake. Finch drifted off, however, until news reached them that a supply ship had been sighted. When the supply ship was destroyed by the French Finch, who'd been barely clinging to life, died. Hornblower raced in just minutes later, bringing food for Finch, but it was too late.
Finch's death greatly impacted Bunting who later deserted.