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HMS Pickle sailing into Lymington for Admiral Cornwallis celebrations

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HMS Pickle will be moored at Lymington
HMS Pickle will be moored at Lymington

A REPLICA of the ship that carried the news of Lord Nelson’s death and great victory at the Battle of Trafalgar back to England will be open to the public when it docks at Lymington this weekend.

HMS Pickle is coming tomorrow (Friday) as part of the celebrations being held in Milford to mark the 200th centenary of the death of a lesser known but equally important naval hero, Admiral Cornwallis.

He was a friend and mentor to Nelson and is buried in an unmarked grave at Milford.

A topsail schooner, HMS Pickle was built in 1799 in Bermuda and is 73ft long with a 20ft beam, and armed with eight 12-pounder cannonades.

Although one of the smaller ships of the Royal Navy, Pickle was the fastest and was involved in many actions at sea including Trafalgar.

Pickle was later tasked with bringing back the news of Nelson’s victory and death to England, arriving at Falmouth on 4th November 1805.

The journey of Pickle from Falmouth to London to take the news to the Admiralty is still commemorated by the Royal Navy. Known as Pickle Night, it is thought to be the origin of the term ‘pickled’ for being drunk.

After long service in the navy Pickle was grounded on rocks and eventually wrecked, but in 1996 a replica of her was built in St Petersburg by a Russian multi-millionaire to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Russian navy by Peter the Great.

A portrait of Milford hero Admiral Sir William Cornwallis by Daniel Gardner of (Image: National Maritime Museum)
A portrait of Milford hero Admiral Sir William Cornwallis by Daniel Gardner of  (Image: National Maritime Museum)

She was launched as the schooner Alevtina and later bought by an Englishman and converted into a faithful replica of HM Pickle for the Trafalgar bicentennial celebrations.

This weekend she will be moored near Lymington’s sea water baths tomorrow and Saturday, and people can go on board 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm.

As well as seeing the vessel they will get to hear about her adventures at sea from the crew dressed in full uniform.

Pickle’s owner Mal Nicholson said: “Preserving and sharing history is what we stand for and the best way for us to do that is by letting people see it and touch it for themselves.”

Also moored at Lymington on Friday will be the Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Trumpeter – a P2000 which is normally used for training.

The ship’s commanding officer Lt David Vail will be attending a service at All Saints Church, Milford, tomorrow (Friday) morning where Cornwallis will be honoured.

Along with other naval personnel, VIPS and dignitaries he will then walk to the village green for an afternoon of celebrations.

From 3pm-5pm there will be events honouring Cornwallis including musical entertainment, traditional naval ceremonies and the arrival of a post-chaise - a two-horse carriage with riders which will deliver the news of the Battle of Trafalgar to villagers.

At St Barbe Museum in Lymington there is an exhibition called Command of the Seas: The Navy and the New Forest against Napoleon, which details Cornwallis’ life.

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