Portsmouth Historic Dockyard marks 205 years since Battle of Trafalgar with moving ceremony

By Culture24 Staff | 21 October 2010
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October 21 2010 marked the 205th anniversary of arguably the most momentous date in Royal Navy history, when Admiral Lord Nelson triumphed at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The defeat of the Franco-Spanish enemy came at a cost – Nelson was fatally wounded during the battle, making the occasion all the more poignant.

On his flagship, the HMS Victory, officials hoisted the fleet colours of the Union Jack and the White Ensign at 8am, raising 33 flags in sequence across three masts.

"Trafalgar is considered to be the most decisive naval battle in history, both tactically and strategically," said the ship's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander DJ “Oscar” Whild.

"The custom of flying Nelson's famous England Expects signal from the masts every Trafalgar Day started in 1899, and we are honoured to continue that tradition today."

Senior naval personnel and invited guests were in attendance, including the Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Fleet and Commander MB Paton, who is the Great Great Grandson of Thomas Goble, Nelson's Public Secretary and Secretary of the Fleet during the Battle.

"It was incredibly moving as the Last Post was played," said the Dockyard's Melissa Gerbaldi. "The silence was a reminder of all those who died during the battle."

Watch a video of the ceremony:

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