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Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Cornwallis Remembered Celebrations: The News of Trafalgar

As part Cornwallis Remembered Celebrations to take place in July, the Milford on Sea Historical Record Society have provided this article on 'Trafalgar, Pickle and Post Chaise'.

Five days after the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805, Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood ordered Lt John Richards Lapenotiere to sail his fast schooner HMS Pickle to deliver his Dispatch, to William Marsden, Secretary of the Navy, at the Admiralty in Whitehall, London. This was the first news to be sent home about victory at the battle and the death of Lord Nelson. 

Picture by Royal Navy
click image to enlarge
During a gruelling voyage across the Bay of Biscay, Pickle started leaking and guns had to be jettisoned to lighten her. Lapenotiere finally reached the Western Approaches of the English Channel on 2nd November. Instead of heading for Plymouth, Lapenotiere decided to land at Falmouth, which had good coaching connections with London. 

Dropping anchor two miles south of Pendennis Head, Lapenotiere was taken by boat and landed at Fish Strand Quay in Falmouth. Seeking transport, he left Falmouth by post-chaise and made at least 21 stops, changing horses every 10 to 15 miles along the 271-mile route. He stopped at coaching inns at Truro, Fraddon, Bodmin, Launceston, Okehampton, Crockernwell, Exeter, Honiton, Axminster, Bridport, Dorchester, Blandford Forum, Woodyates, Salisbury, Andover, Overton, Basingstoke, Hartfordbridge, Bagshot, Staines and Hounslow. 

At some stops, he had to transfer to other post-chaises because even in those days, different coach operators covered certain sections of the route. 

Lapenotiere finally arrived at the Admiralty at 1.00am in the early hours of 6th November after his non-stop journey - under 38 hours since leaving Falmouth, and more than two weeks after the battle was fought. William Marsden, who was about to retire for the night, showed Lapenotiere to the boardroom. There, Lapenotiere announced: “Sir, we have gained a great victory, but we have lost Lord Nelson.”

click image to enlarge

To find our more about all of the Cornwallis Story and the Cornwallis Remembered celebrations, please click here.

Milford-on-Sea Historical Record Society:


Cornwallis Remembered Weekend: 

Friday 5th July 2019: includes a family friendly celebration on Milford on Sea village green and much more. Keep the date free!

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