- HMS Pickle (1800)
HMS "Pickle" was a 10-gun
Bermuda sloopof the Royal Navy. She was originally a civilian vessel named "Sting", one of several vessels seized when the Dutch island of Curaçaowas surrendered to Captain William Frederick Watkinsof HMS "Néréide" in 1800, and was purchased by Lord Hugh Seymourin January 1801 as an armed tender and renamed "Pickle" in 1802.
In 1803 "Pickle" was attached to Admiral William Cornwallis' Inshore Squadron, where she was used to recconoitre enemy harbours during the
blockadeof Brest, Rochefort, and Lorient. On 25 March 1804 "Pickle" went to the assistance of HMS "Magnificent", which had run on to a shoal off Brest, and assisted in the rescue of her crew.
On 9 October 1805, commanded by Lieutenant
John Richards Lapenotiere, "Pickle" was sent with HMS "Weazle" to assist Captain Henry Blackwood in watching the coast off Cádiz, and to provide reconnaissance services for the fleet. "Pickle" managed to sail close enough to the coast to provide an exact count of the enemy warships in Cadiz harbour.
Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar, "Pickle" and the other small vessels were kept well back from the fighting, since a single broadsidefrom a ship of the linewould have sunk her instantly. "Pickle" herself was stationed to the north-west of the weather line, where Nelson was leading HMS "Victory" into battle. In the later stages of the battle, "Pickle" and three other vessels went to the rescue of the crew of the French ship, "Achille", which caught fire and subsequently exploded.
"Pickle" was the first ship to bring the news of Nelson's victory to
Great Britain, arriving at Falmouth on 4 November 1805, having been chosen to carry the dispatches of Vice Admiral Collingwood who had assumed command after the death of Nelson. After arriving in Falmouth Lapenotiere took a coach to Londonto deliver the dispatches to the Admiralty, receiving a promotion to Commanderfor his service.
To this day the Royal Navy's
petty officers have an annual "Pickle Night" dinner, as do many private clubs in the Commonwealth of Nations. The historic and epic 1805 voyage and journey were commemorated in 2005, the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, by the New Trafalgar Dispatchand the Trafalgar Way.
"Pickle" struck a shoal at Cádiz and was lost in 1808.
* David Howarth, "Trafalgar: The Nelson Touch" (Atheneum, 1969).
* [http://www.hmspickle.org.uk/ HMS 'Pickle' replica]
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