Richard Pickersgill

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Richard Pickersgill (18 April 1749 in West Tanfield, North Yorkshire, England – July 1779 in London) was an English naval officer who accompanied the sailor and explorer James Cook on two of his South Seas trips.[1][2]

Richard Pickersgill was born in 1749 in West Tanfield, near Ripon, to Richard and Ann Pickersgill (née Lee). Pickersgill was the nephew of John Lee, the servant of George Jackson, a senior officer in the Admiralty. It is believed that his uncle managed to position him through his relationships on his first ships.[1]

In 1766, at the age of 17, he participated in the circumnavigation of the world under Captain Samuel Wallis on the Dolphin. Two years later, on August 26, 1768, Pickersgill belonged as a Master's mate to the Endeavor team, which set off with James Cook to its first South Sea voyage. On this trip he also impressed Cook, who had a high opinion of his skills as a surveyor, his dealings with the indigenous peoples they encountered, and his judgment. When Robert Molineux, the Master of the Endeavor, died on the return journey to England, Pickersgill was promoted to Master on April 16, 1771.[3] After his return to London Pickersgill was promoted on Cook's recommendation to Lieutenant. On July 13, 1772 Cook began his second expedition with the Resolution and Richard Pickersgill belonged as the third Lieutenant back to the team.

He did not accompany Cook on his third voyage, but in April 1776 took command of the ship Lyon and was sent to Baffin Bay on the east coast of Canada.[4][5]

Richard Pickersgill died in 1779 at the age of 30, when he accidentally fell into the Thames when he entered a ship and drowned.[2]

According to Richard Pickersgill, the Pickersgill Islands in the South Atlantic and Pickersgill Harbour, a natural harbor in New Zealand, were named.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ralph Jackson's diary - Part 5: Richard Pickersgill". Captain Cook Society. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  2. ^ a b "Captain James Cook R.N. Crew Database Richard Pickersgill". Captain Cook Society. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  3. ^ "Captain Cook's Journal". University of Adelaide. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  4. ^ "Pickersgill Interview Broadcast on Radio". Captain Cook Society. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  5. ^ Williams, Glyn (2003). Voyages of Delusion. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 305–306. ISBN 9780300098662.