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HMS PICKLE starting  the long voyage home to Falmouth

HMS PICKLE starting the long voyage home to Falmouth

Following the battle of Trafalgar Admiral Collingwood moved his flag to the 38-gun frigate EURYALUS. On the morning of 26th October 1805 Collingwood hailed HM sloop PICKLE, Captain John Lapenotiere, went aboard to receive orderes from the admiral. He was to carry the despatches to the Admiral

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[COLOR="Navy"]You artistic gentlemen are creating so many gems between you ~ this being yet another as Jim says ~ that I'll call you collectively 'The ring of fire'.[/COLOR]

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Here is a bit more on the story. It would make a great film!

Oh... Lt Lapenotiere received £500 from the Admiralty. In today's money... £42,802. Not bad for ten days work!

A year or so back I went to visit he grave in Menheniot in Cornwall.


Battle of Trafalgar

Pickle was much too small to serve an active role in the Battle of Trafalgar, which culminated the campaign on 21 October 1805 but her assistance was invaluable during the difficult and dangerous task which arose during the ensuing storm. Lapenotière’s ship was engaged in rescuing survivors from the water, taking men off sinking ships over the next week and even towing damaged hulks in an effort to rescue them from the waves. On 26 October, Admiral Collingwood sent Pickle to Britain with the dispatches telling of the great victory. This was a signal honour for any junior officer, since it almost guaranteed promotion and fame and some of the other junior officers later expressed anger at the seeming preferment of Lapenotière.

Lapenotière is brought into Lyme Regis (re-enactment 2005)
Arriving in the English Channel on 1 November, Lapenotière realised that the wind was so strong it would prevent him from making landfall further up the Channel and so landed at Falmouth. He then took an exhausting series of mail coaches and horses overland to London, where he arrived on 6 November, after a journey of about 271 miles and involving 21 changes of horses taking 37 hours and costing £46 [each stage being between 10 and 15 miles at a speed of just over 7 mph] , to give his despatches to William Marsden, Secretary of the Navy, with the simple words, “Sir, we have gained a great victory. But we have lost Lord Nelson.”[Note 1] As was expected, Lapenotière was greatly rewarded for his feat. He received promotion to Commander, a sword from the Lloyd's Patriotic Fund, and £500 in cash. King George III gave him a silver spice sprinkler, which the mayor's office in Liskeard now owns. He was subsequently given the command of the 16-gun Orestes and participated in the bombardment of Copenhagen in 1807, where he was badly wounded by an exploding gun.

His next four years of sea service was spent sailing the Orestes out of Plymouth. With Orestes he took two privateers (one French, one American), and a rich American merchant ship.

In 1811, he received promotion to Post Captain but was unable to secure a ship and spent the remainder of the war on shore duties. He never captained a ship again, settling in Menheniot near Liskeard, in Cornwall with his family, dying peacefully in 1834. He was buried next to his second wife in the churchyard at Menheniot.

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A great painting. The replica "Pickle" is presently berthed in Hull marina. She has just been presented with a ship's bell by the Royal Navy.

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Stephen J. Card
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