"Trafalgar Dispatch" Hero's grave in Cornwall to be rescued.

The 1805 Club is bestowing another honour on the hero who brought back the news of victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Lord Nelson.

As a result of grants from two charitable trusts, the club hopes to begin work by the end of this year -the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar - on the conservation of Lt John Richards Lapenotière's tomb at Menheniot Parish Church in Cornwall.

Work on the tomb represents the start of the next phase of the Trafalgar Captains' Memorial Project, a two-year research initiative that has been the club's major contribution to the bicentenary.

The project's aim was to locate, record and where necessary conserve the graves and memorials of the 38 "forgotten heroes" who commanded the ships of the British fleet at the battle.

Founded as the only organisation that conserves monuments and memorials to Lord Nelson and other seafarers of the Georgian area, the club has also published a book "The Trafalgar Captains, Their Lives and Memorials" detailing the research and telling the individual stories of the captains and lieutenants.

During the research, seven graves were identified as being in particularly poor condition and in need of urgent attention, so the club sought financial assistance for their conservation.

As a result, the Leche Trust and Manifold Trust have offered the club grant aid totalling £6000 towards the conservation work. Lapenotière's tomb was the one the club recognised as being most at risk and £5240 has been earmarked towards its conservation. The remainder of this grant aid will go towards work on one of the other captains' tombs.

The story of Lapenotière came to the fore in 2005 through the New Trafalgar Dispatch, one of the major events of the bicentenary. It re-enacted the historic voyage on board his ship HM Schooner Pickle from Cape Trafalgar to Falmouth carrying Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood's dispatch with the bitter sweet news of the battle and Nelson.

Lapenotière then continued the 271 mile, 36 hour journey by post-chaise through Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Middlesex to the Admiralty in London.

The event also celebrated the victory and heroism of Trafalgar and the international Brotherhood of the Sea.

Peter Warwick, Chairman of the 1805 Club, believes: "This is a marvellous way to end the Trafalgar bicentenary year. The Leche and Manifold Trusts' extremely generous donations allow us to conserve the tomb of Lapenotière, who became a pivotal figure in the Trafalgar story with his extraordinary journey by sea and land to deliver news of the battle to the Admiralty.

"We are also impressed at the way the Trafalgar Captains' Memorial Project has caught the imagination of so many people and we hope they will come to regard captains like Lapenotière as their own local heroes."


PRESS CALL/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

You are invited to send representatives to the ceremony of rededication for Captain John Richards Lapenotiere at Menheniot

Church on Sunday, 25 May. Evensong begins at 5pm followed by rededication at the grave at 5.45pm. and the talk at 6.30pm

Peter Warwick and Lapenotiere descendents are available for interview before and after the ceremony.


Notes to editors

About The 1805 Club:

- The 1805 Club was founded in 1990 to care for the memorials of the Georgian sailing navy, which are a vital yet often neglected part of Britain's naval heritage. No other organisation is dedicated to their preservation.

- To do this, the Club assists in the preservation of monuments and memorials relating to Admiral Lord Nelson and seafaring people of the Georgian era.

- So far, the Club has either completed or assisted with over 40 major projects including the first memorial to Emma Hamilton in Calais; Lady Francis Nelson's tomb in Devon and the Nelson and Collingwood plaques in the Painted Hall, Greenwich and most recently, the Battle of Copenhagen memorial plaque, which was dedicated last year.

- Its major project for Trafalgar 200 in 2005 was the Trafalgar Captains' Project in which memorials and graves of the 38 men who served with Nelson at the battle were researched and recorded. This information was then published in a book "The Trafalgar Captains, Their Lives and Memorials."

- The Club promotes and publishes research into the Royal Navy of the Georgian period, especially that relating to Lord Nelson.

- It also organises culture and historical events for the enjoyment of members and the public in general.

- The Club currently enjoys a membership of nearly 500 globally.

- For more information about the work of The 1805 Club, please visit the website, www.1805Club.org.


The New Trafalgar Dispatch

The story of Lapenotiere came to the fore in 2005 through the New Trafalgar Dispatch, one of the major events of the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The 1805 Club was a main organiser of this It re-enacted the historic voyage on board his ship HM Schooner Pickle from Cape Trafalgar to Falmouth carrying Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood's dispatch with the bitter sweet news of the battle and Nelson.

Lapenotiere then continued the 271 mile, 36 hour journey by post-chaise through Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Middlesex to the Admiralty in London.

The event also celebrated the victory and heroism of Trafalgar and the international Brotherhood of the Sea.


Life of Captain John Richards Lapenotiere RN

• Born in 1770, he was a member of an old Huguenot family which settled in Devon and had enjoyed a continuous record of military service to the Crown.

• First went to sea aged ten under the protection of his father.

• Aged 15, as a gentleman volunteer, joined a commercial expedition to exploit the potential of the fur trade on the north-west coast of America. Expedition led by Lt Nathaniel Portlock, who had previously sailed with Capt James Cook.

• Returned to England in 1788, serving as a midshipman on two ships Scout and Magnificent.

• Aged 21, reunited with Portlock who was commander of the merchant ship Assistance which sailed as a tender to Capt William Bligh's ship on his second expedition to the Pacific, the first of which ended with the mutiny on the Bounty.

• Next ship in 1793 was Margarita, part of the British West Indies Fleet commanded by Vice-Admiral Sir John Jervis.

• Briefly transferred to Jervis's flagship the Boyne before being promoted to lieutenant and appointed to the command of the schooner Berbice.

• In 1795, returned to England as first lieutenant in the Resource.

• Served uneventfully in 1800 in a frigate and three ships of the line in the North Sea and Channel Fleets.

• Appointed to the command of cutter Joseph engaging in several successful actions to disrupt French coastal shipping near Brest. His actions earned the written approbation of commander-in chief, Earl St Vincent.

• Appointed to the command of the Bermuda-built fast schooner Pickle in 1802. Two years later he earned great approval when off the coast of Brest he saved the crew of the Magnificent on which he had served as a midshipman.

• When he was attached to Nelson's fleet before Trafalgar, he captured a Portuguese ship with a cargo of bullocks which he sent on to the fleet to help replenish their supplies of fresh meat.

• On 26th October 1805, five days after Trafalgar, Collingwood entrusted his dispatch to Lapenotiere with orders to deliver it to the Admiralty. The task was given in recognition of his initiative several years earlier from preventing a ship on which they were both passengers from foundering.

• The delivery of the dispatch involved sailing Pickle from Cape Trafalgar to Falmouth which was followed by a remarkable 271 mile continuous journey by post-chaise.

• It took him 36 hours, very fast for the time, to reach the Admiralty where Collingwood's dispatch was delivered to William Marsden, Secretary to the Navy, who alerted Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty. Copies were made and delivered to Prime Minister, William Pitt and King George III who was staying at Windsor.

• For his achievement, he was promoted to Commander and given a £500 gratuity. He was also award a 100-guinea sword by

the Lloyd's Patriotic Fund. The king also presented him with a silver sugar sifter now on display in the Liskeard Museum in Cornwall.

• He briefly commanded the armed ship Chapman based in Scotland, before joining his last command, the brig Orestes in late 1806. The ship served on the North Sea station until 807 when she joined the fleet of Admiral Gambier on its way to Copenhagen.

• Off Elsinore, he was badly burnt by a flash back from a gun, but continued in command of the ship, which was transferred to the Plymouth station. From here, he captured two ships.

• Discharged from Orestes in 1811 and made post-captain, he did not return to sea.

• He concentrated on family life having married Lucia Shean in 1800 and the couple had four daughters.

• After Lucia's death in 1804, he married Mary Anne Graves in 1805 and they had four daughters and three sons. Two of them also served in the Royal Navy.

• Settling in the Cornish hamlet of Roseland at Menheniot, near Liskeard, he died in 1834 aged 63. He is buried in Menheniot churchyard with his second wife who predeceased him and his third son, Thomas.

Source: The Trafalgar Captains' Project, Their Lives and Memorials by Colin White and the 1805 Club, published by Chatham

Publishing, £12.99.