HMS Pickle, The Swiftest Ship in Nelson’s Trafalgar Fleet

B2285

Depends on the size of your pockets, but this is a pocket-size book that packs a big punch. A great deal of information is packed into this volume, including a very good photo-plate section. There are also charts, tables and sketches through the body of the book to provide a significant amount of illustration, all to a high standard. This is a fine account of a part of the most famous sea battle that has received very little coverage. It is nicely produced and offered at a very affordable price. Naval enthusiasts will be keen to obtain a copy, but this is one of those books that should be a priority for anyone starting to develop an interest in the story of Nelson and the Royal Navy. Very highly commended.

reviews.firetrench.com

adn.firetrench.com

bgn.firetrench.com

nthn.firetrencvh.com

ftd.firetrench.com

NAME: HMS Pickle, The Swiftest Ship in Nelson’s Trafalgar Fleet
DATE: 110915
FILE: R2285
AUTHOR: Peter Hore
PUBLISHER: The History Press
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 178
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: 1805, Battle of Trafalgar, Royal Navy, Spanish Navy, French Navy, Nelson, wooden warships, minor war vessels, despatches, communications, RN supremacy
ISBN: 978-0-7509-6435-7
IMAGE: B2285.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/pvmhpl4
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Depends on the size of your pockets, but this is a pocket-size book that packs a big punch. A great deal of information is packed into this volume, including a very good photo-plate section. There are also charts, tables and sketches through the body of the book to provide a significant amount of illustration, all to a high standard. This is a fine account of a part of the most famous sea battle that has received very little coverage. It is nicely produced and offered at a very affordable price. Naval enthusiasts will be keen to obtain a copy, but this is one of those books that should be a priority for anyone starting to develop an interest in the story of Nelson and the Royal Navy. Very highly commended.

The popular image of Trafalgar is of massive 100+ gun line-of-battle-ships in line astern attempting to cross the enemy ‘T’ in a terrible and majestic progress with all sails set, flags and pennants flying, before being engulfed in gun smoke. That was of course a reasonable picture of the heart of the battle where national victory stood in balance. As part of the Nelsonian legend, it was an emotional conclusion to the glorious career of a young naval commander who was to be struck down in his moment of glory, fittingly on the quarter deck of a ship called ‘Victory’, A film script writer could not have hoped for so many memorable elements coming together in one production.

As a naval battle, Trafalgar is probably without any parallel. The Royal Navy may have achieved supremacy at sea during the Seven Years War, but Trafalgar underlined that supremacy and although the French were to continue to send out small squadrons and individual ships to the end of hostilities, they were never able to put a fleet to sea, unless they were prepared to see it defeated rapidly. The war with Napoleon may have ended in 1814, with a brief last attempt in 1815, but 1805 was to be the defeat of Napoleon in terms of ending any remaining hopes of an ultimate victory.

However, the Battle of Trafalgar was to involve a number of smaller warships including frigates and minor war vessels such as sloops and cutters. In terms of the fleet establishment for Trafalgar, HMS Pickle was the second smallest ship present, but some will argue that the Battle included the area around the fleet action, back to the shore bases, with a selection of small fast vessels taking reports back from the Fleet and others searching for the Fleet to pass on instructions and intelligence from the Admiralty.

Authors of naval fiction always face a major challenge in how they develop the story for their fictional heroes in relation to the Battle of Trafalgar. The legend of Nelson is so strong, the battle has been reported, reviewed, and analysed by so many authors and historians over the years that it is difficult to introduce a fictional hero and take his career through and past Trafalgar. It is so difficult that almost no one has succeeded. One exception has been Julian Stockwin who has written a fictional series of great novelty, set in the times of Nelson. His stories feature two very original characters, one from a noble family, and heir to titles, who, after a family dispute, joined the Royal Navy as a volunteer ordinary seaman, the second, and title character, being a young wig-maker taken by the press gang. The two then embark on a series of adventures, being commissioned in the process, with Kydd, the young former wig-maker being given command. Stockwin took his characters through Trafalgar by having Kydd in command of a small warship being present in the reconnaissance screen, giving him a credible position as an observer of this great combat. He was then able to continue his fictional career in the Royal Navy during the dash for Empire that followed Trafalgar.

The fictional Kydd story of Trafalgar sits appropriately alongside the story of HMS Pickle.

Captain Peter Hore describes how Pickle started out as a civilian vessel, was armed for naval use and took up the role of communications vessel, speedily carrying reports and orders been RN formations at sea and shore establishments. At Trafalgar, HMS Pickle was selected to carry back to the Admiralty the reports of the great victory at Trafalgar and the tragic death of Nelson. This is only a part of her story which Capt Hore tells in full. It is a colourful story of a small warship, her courageous crew and the vital role performed by these fast sailing ships in the days before radio, MUOS satellite constellations, digital communication and UAVs.

Leave a Reply