The Trafalgar Way black plaque in Wilmington, Devon

The Trafalgar Way. Wilmington. On Monday 21st October 1805 the Royal Navy decisively defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar on the south west coast of Spain. This victory permanently removed the threat of invasion of England by the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. The first official dispatches with the momentous news of the victory,and the death in action of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson,were carried on board H.M. Schooner PICKLE by her captain Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere. Lapenotiere landed at Falmouth on Monday 4th November 1805 and set out "express by post-chaise" for London, following what is now known as The Trafalgar Way. He took some 37 hours to cover the 271 mile journey, changing horses 21 times, one of these being early on the 5th at Honiton. His orders were to lose no time in reaching the Admiralty so, as the horses were still fresh, he pressed on through fog in Brentford and Chiswick towards Whitehall. Over the following four weeks other important messages arrived from the fleet with further details of the victory and anxiously awaited information on casualties. All the dispatches were landed at Falmouth and their couriers took the same route through Brentford and Chiswick where horses and hospitality were available from the inns to all travellers on what is now The Trafalgar Way.
The Trafalgar Way. Wilmington. On Monday 21st October 1805 the Royal Navy decisively defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet off Cape Trafalgar on the south west coast of Spain. This victory permanently removed the threat of invasion of England by the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. The first official dispatches with the momentous news of the victory,and the death in action of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson,were carried on board H.M. Schooner PICKLE by her captain Lieutenant John Richards Lapenotiere. Lapenotiere landed at Falmouth on Monday 4th November 1805 and set out "express by post-chaise" for London, following what is now known as The Trafalgar Way. He took some 37 hours to cover the 271 mile journey, changing horses 21 times, one of these being early on the 5th at Honiton. His orders were to lose no time in reaching the Admiralty so, as the horses were still fresh, he pressed on through fog in Brentford and Chiswick towards Whitehall. Over the following four weeks other important messages arrived from the fleet with further details of the victory and anxiously awaited information on casualties. All the dispatches were landed at Falmouth and their couriers took the same route through Brentford and Chiswick where horses and hospitality were available from the inns to all travellers on what is now The Trafalgar Way.

The Trafalgar Way is the name given to the historic route used to carry dispatches with the news of the Battle of Trafalgar overland from Falmouth to the Admiralty in London. The first messenger in November 1805 was Lieutenant Lapenotiere, of HMS Pickle, who reached Falmouth on 4 November after a hard voyage in bad weather. He then raced to London bearing the dispatches containing the momentous news of Lord Nelson's victory and death in the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805.Following the death in action of the Commander in Chief, Admiral Lord Nelson, his deputy, Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, took command of the British Fleet. Because his ship, the Royal Sovereign, had been dismasted, Collingwood transferred to the undamaged frigate HMS Euryalus to control operations. Shortly after the battle a severe storm blew up and lasted for several days. Collingwood was faced with the challenge of ensuring the safety and survival of his own and the captured ships: at the same time he needed to report the outcome of the battle to the Admiralty in London as soon as possible.

Source: dbpedia

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