Happy Pickle Night


While fireworks and bonfires light up the sky to mark Guy Fawkes in early November, another celebration is spreading fast across, not just the country, but the world – Pickle Night!

Celebrated on or as close to the 6th November as possible, Yacht clubs, coastal towns, Nelson enthusiasts and Naval officers gather in fancy dress to eat and drink in celebration of HMS Pickle – the smallest ship in Nelson’s fleet but still famous over 200 years later.

In his new book from The History Press, Peter Hore recounts the story behind the topsail schooner which was too small to take part in the fighting but distinguished itself as the ship to bring Captain John Lapenotiere with the news of Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar and his death.

The schooner set of on 26th October and took nine days to reach Britain after facing a gale off Cape Finisterre. After the Pickle anchored in Falmouth Bay on 4th November, Lapenotiere started his journey to London, a trip that usually took a week was covered in 37 hours with at least 21 horse changes.

Captain Peter Hore describes the ship’s beginnings as a civilian vessel called, Sting, before she was converted to take up a new role in Admiral Cornwall’s Inshore Squadron for French reconnaissance in 1803. Equipped with ten guns and renamed, HMS Pickle, she was involved in the rescue for the crew of HMS Magnificent in 1804 and further reconnaissance missions.

This full history details other colourful episodes including a single-ship action against the French privateer Favorite in 1807. Pickle was wrecked in July 1808 when she was grounded as she entered Cadiz harbour but without loss of life.

Peter Hore is an award-winning author and journalist. He served a full career in the Royal Navy, spent ten years working in the cinema and television industry and is now Daily Telegraph obituary writer and biographer. He is the author of:

  • Habit of Victory
  • Submarine, 1901 – 2001
  • Battleships
  • News of Nelson; Sydney
  • Cipher and Search
  • Nelson’s Band of Brothers.

In 2011, he was elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


By Peter Hore

Foreword by Andrew Lambert

ISBN: 978 0 7509 6435 7

Hardback £14.99

30 b/w Illustrations
October 2015