The recently restored replica of HMS Pickle has set sail from Portsmouth to Suffolk arriving in the River Stour this weekend. This marks the end of her celebratory voyage to mark the original HMS Pickle’s voyage to Falmouth carrying the news of victory at Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson.
The schooner will drop anchor off-shore in front of the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook to mark an Act of Remembrance at 11am on 11 November. More than 1000 people will gather on the School’s parade ground including prospective families visiting for an Open Morning. HMS Pickle will signal her starboard broadside cannon at the end of a 2 minute silence. Later in the day the crew of HMS Pickle will join sixth formers of Nelson House at their annual Trafalgar Night Dinner and a re-enactment team will put on a living history performance of Nelson’s Navy days.
Trafalgar Night is celebrated throughout the Commonwealth celebrating the arrival in London of Lieutenant John Lapenotiere in 1805 on HMS Pickle carrying news of victory over the French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar and the death of Lord Nelson. It took ten days for the 73ft sailing vessel to reach Falmouth – then another 37 hours for her captain Lieutenant John Lapenotiere to reach the Admiralty in London, breathlessly announcing: “Sir, we have gained a great victory but we have lost Lord Nelson.”
HMS Pickle is owned by Mal Nicholson, who has personally invested and lovingly restored the replica schooner in celebration of Trafalgar 200 and marking the importance of the nation’s maritime history.
Ltd Cdr Nigel Griffiths, Head of Ceremonial at the Royal Hospital School, said “we are honoured to welcome HMS Pickle on this busy weekend as we prepare for Open Morning, an Act of Remembrance, a reunion of former pupils, the Trafalgar Night dinner and our Remembrance Divisions and Service attended by more than 2500 pupils, staff, parents and guests”.
The Royal Hospital School was founded in 1715 by Royal Charter to ‘improve navigation’ through education as it prepared boys for a life in the navy. Today the School is a mainstream independent boarding and day school for 11 to 18 year olds providing a full and broad education fit for the modern world. The School is proud of these historic links and the traditional naval values of loyalty, commitment, courage, respect, service and integrity continue to underpin its core aims and philosophy more than 300 years later.