HMS Pickle’s South Coast tour, summer 2019

On the 30th June HMS Pickle left Hull Marina, turned South East at the mouth of the Humber, and then south past the Wash and into the River Stour at Harwich.

On departing Harwich, HMS Pickle will cross the Thames Estuary and the London Array wind farm bound for the Dover Straits, where she’ll pass the White Cliffs and onwards down through the English Channel.

After an overnight stop at Brighton, she’ll head west to the Isle of Wight and the Solent, where her first official port of call will be Lymington for the 1805 Club’s weekend of celebration for Admiral Cornwallis who was a friend of Lord Nelson and commanded the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars.

Departing Lymington, it will be a short sail to the Beaulieu River and Bucklers Hard where some of the vessels that fought in the Battle of Trafalgar were built in the 18th century.

HMS Pickle will be berthed at the jetty and will be open to visitors. During the weekend , subject to weather conditions, model vessels representing the Trafalgar Fleet will be making sailing demonstrations.

Her next official port of call is the Portsmouth Historic Navy Dockyard, where she will be moored next to HMS Warrior, the first armour-plated iron-hulled warship built for the Royal Navy.

During the weekend she will be hosted by the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines from HMS Victory.

Since HMS Pickle will be moored in a public access area, she will be open for visitors during the weekend, working with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

HMS Pickle will also play host to Kingston Upon Hull’s Sailors Childrens Society and welcome local Portsmouth families.

After Portsmouth, little Pickle will sail for Portland Harbour with crew from HMS Victory Senior Rates aboard and then Weymouth for her fourth official port of call, the RNLI Parade of Sail on Sunday 28th July to celebrate 150 years of the RNLI at Weymouth.

From Weymouth, HMS Pickle will go on to visit the Britannia Royal Navy College at Dartmouth, call at Poole and then at Port of Dover for a banquet for HMS Pickle’s crew before sailing back to Kingston upon Hull. 

The Navy clearly loves the HMS Pickle, which is said to be modelled on the original small schooner Pickle that brought the news of the victory of Trafalgar back to England.

Here’s a video of an amazing ceremony to commission the ship’s new bell:

Some of the events on Pickle’s summer tour are supported by Teamac Marine Coatings long-standing experts and sponsors of Historic Motor and Sail (HMS).

Today’s RNLI on wet collodion: Jack Lowe’s The Lifeboat Station project

The Lifeboat Station Project

Newcastle-based photographer Jack Lowe is been a lifelong enthusiast and supporter of the RNLI, and is now pursuing an extraordinary project travelling the UK in a converted ambulance photographing lifeboat stations, coxwains and crews using the 19th century wet plate collodion method.

The result is an extraordinary collection of striking photos that have more than something of the look of old photos of Victorian lifeboatment – but with the twist that these folks and places are in the here and now.

Part of the aim is to raise money for the RNLI, but Jack also intends to create something that will involve and unite the RNLI community, and finally to create an exhibition in which the glass plates are hung in geographical in order around a huge room to create a sense of seeing the entire coastline of the British Isles.

It’s worth checking the Jack’s weblog posts at the bottom of the home page. These are full of his personal take on his journeys. Entertainingly, the one about his trip to Teddington on the Thames includes a series of family and friends photos including his grandfather Arthur Lowe and the cast of Dad’s Army, among others.

My thanks to Malcolm Woods for spotting this one!

Lifeboat hero Henry Blogg passed away 60 years ago today


When Henry Blogg retired in 1947, after 53 years service and at age 71, 11 years past the usual retiring date, he had been coxswain for 38 years of his service, during which he had launched 387 times and rescued 873 people. The photo above is from the Wikimedia.

Blogg is often referred to as ‘the greatest of the lifeboatmen’. Through a career that began in 1917 and included his near drowning in a service to the SS English Trader in 1941, he was awarded the gold medal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution three times and the silver medal four times, the George Cross, the British Empire Medal, and a series of other awards.

On his retirement, Blogg’s nephew ‘Shrimp’ Davies took over as coxswain. Here’s a link to Shrimp talking… And here’s another to Shrimp and the rest of his crew having a beer and a bit of step dancing.

Old Henry is still remembered in Cromer – there’s the splendid monument pictured above, and the town also has its RNLI Henry Blogg Museum.

My thanks to Malcolm Woods for reminding me of this anniversary.