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09. Lieutenant John Pilfold
Arms: Azure a lion rampant Or, holding between its paws a sword erect proper, two flaunches Or each charged with an anchor erect Sable. To this was added, for John Pilfold, a canton of honourable augmentation Gules,
thereon a pendant by a ribbon Argent, fimbriated Azure, from a naval crown a representation of the medal given to the said John Pilfold for his gallant service in the battle of Cape Trafalgar, 21 October 1805, Or.

Crest: A seahorse erect per fess Sable and Or, supporting a trident Sable, gorged with a naval crown and pendant therefrom a medal as in the arms.


SOURCES, NOTES & CREDITS: “The Double Tressure”, 2005, No. 28, The article “Nelson’s Captains” by the late Peter Drummond-Murray of Mastrick on pages 60-61 for background and the Wikipedia article on John Pilfold.

Captain John Pilfold , CB ( 1768 - 12 July 1834 )

Born on Effingham, East Court Manor, Sussex in 1768, was an officer of the Royal Navy. In October 1805 Lieutenant Pilfold was Acting Captain of the HMS Ajax, as her Captain had been called home to give evidence at a court martial.

Ajax was in the lee column led by Victory. She spent the battle getting between the Victory and enemy ships trying to attack Nelson's flagship. After the battle she took the Intrepide prize in tow. When the Santissima Trinidad was wrecked on the lee shore after the battle Ajax was particularly gallant in rescuing the Spanish sailors and boasted that even the Spaniard’s cat was rescued !

Pilfold's sister Elizabeth married Sir Timothy Shelley, Bt., so he was uncle to Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet. On 25 December 1805 he was advanced to the rank of Post Captain and awarded the gold medal, which features in his arms, given to captains present at the battle.

He and his brother James were granted arms to which John Pilfold had an honourable augmentation, in 1805, and later he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.

He died in 1834, age 65.

The artwork is an interpretation of Mark D. Dennis done for the 2005 "Double Tressure" article and used with his permission.

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