evening Ladies and Gentlemen.
month it will be 200 years since that fateful day when the Royal Navy faced
the combined navies of France and Spain, at Trafalgar. This was an event that
would have long-lasting repercussions -
For France - that was forced to abandon, for the moment at any rate, her plans
to invade Britain;
For Britain, in addition to avoiding invasion, domination of the seas placed
her in a position to eventually face Bonaparte on land - to be able to land
troops in Portugal and maintain them continuously supplied by sea. In spite of
the Continental blockade, imposed by Bonaparte, England would continue her
foreign trade through large scale smuggling and open new markets for her
goods, as happened in 1808, in Brazil.
For Portugal, two years later invaded by Bonaparte, she would be able to call
on her ally to escort her court as it made its way to Brazil.
For Brazil - the coming of the royal family was her birth, as a nation. In
1815 her status changed from colony to full nation. A decade later, she would
become an independent empire.
am therefore very happy, this evening, to share my knowledge of this event
have divided this presentation into three parts.
the Political scenario, in 1803, followed by the Personal scenario of the
battle's hero - Nelson and, finally, the Battle of Trafalgar. I calculate that
this presentation will last some 45 minutes.
1 - The Political Scenario
a short interlude, war with France was resumed, in 1803.
the Continent, Bonaparte had had total success in defeating all the armies
that had tried to contain his ambition to dominate the whole of Europe. Only
Russia and England stood in his way. Russia, protected by her immense army,
the long communication lines essential to reach her most important cities and
her harsh winter weather. England, on the other hand, protected by the fact
that she was an island.
of England has always been extremely difficult - Romans and Danes and, more
recently, Normans, in 1066, were the only ones to succeed.
watched, with increasing apprehension, as Bonaparte prepared for invasion. A
very short distance away, just across the channel, invading forces began to
gather. Along the French, Belgian and Dutch coastline ports were being
prepared to hold 2,400 transports, capable of crossing the English Channel
with 100,000 men and 3,000 horses. La Grande Armée, as it was known.
Britain, calls were being made by the armed forces for volunteers for this
emergency. Under the general command of the Duke of York, the second son of
forts were being manned and a line of defense towers, called 'Martello Towers'
after their inventor, were being built. Many exist until today.
was aware that if he could dominate the English Channel, even for a few days,
his army could cross and most probably be victorious, as it had been
elsewhere; without this assurance, it would be suicide to attempt an invasion.
Bonaparte is seen visiting one of his ships, moored in the English Channel -
during preparations for the invasion.
May 1803 Nelson left London and, boarding the 100 gun HMS Victory at
Portsmouth, sailed for the Mediterranean. His orders were to defend Gibraltar,
Malta and the Kingdom of Two Sicilies (that part of Italy, south of Naples,
and the Island of Sicily itself) and blockade a French squadron at Toulon; to
prevent the squadron that was in the harbour from joining other French
year 1804 saw very little action on the part of the French but, early in 1805,
the Rochefort squadron managed to leave port but, after crossing to the West
Indies, their orders were cancelled and in early March saw them back again in
this stage Spain entered the war on France's side.
the beginning of April the French squadron managed to leave Toulon and head
out to the Atlantic. The Spanish squadron left Cadiz but, due to delays, only
managed to meet up with them in Martinique.
understand how ships can leave a port under blockage, one has to accept the
limitations imposed by sail. When, for instance, a storm with Westerly winds
hits the coast at Cádiz, the blockading ships are forced into the
Mediterranean, perhaps one or two hundred miles past Gibraltar. When the storm
dies down and the winds change to Easterly, the blockading force may take four
or five days to get back to their station - this is the opportunity for the
enemy to break through the blockage!
this occasion, Nelson, far away in the middle of the Mediterranean, took some
time to realize what had happened. In fact he sailed in an easterly direction,
further into the Mediterranean, before he found that the enemy was in the
Atlantic. On May 12th the chase at last got under way in earnest. Nelson and
the squadron under his command sailed from Lagos (in Portugal, where he taken
on 5 month's supplies). In distance he was just over one month behind.
that the whereabouts of the French squadron was known with relative certainty,
every attempt had to be made to try to bring it to battle. That summer of 1805
saw Nelson crossing the Atlantic to the West Indies and then back again
P1 06 and Slide P1 07
Nelson's flagship led the squadron - here in light airs, as her studdingsails
set on both sides, show.
P1 08 and Slide P1 09
are lucky that this line-of-battle-ship still exists today, the only one of
its kind to survive, in dry-dock at Portsmouth.
the dinning accommodation is quite luxurious. Nelson's favourite portrait of
Emma can be seen; he called her my 'My Guardian Angel'.
dinning facilities of a 74, the most common size of line-of-battleship in
usage, were quite different - much less luxurious.
will notice a servant behind each dinning guest. Captains were allowed 4
servants for each 100 crew members; in the case of a 74 with a crew of 550
men, some 26 servants. Some of these posts were kept for sons of friends who,
at the age of 12 would start their careers in the Navy. Many admirals,
including Nelson, Sidney Smith (who commanded the squadron that escorted D.
João to Brazil) and many others heroes began their careers in this way.
partitions on either side formed small cubicles to give officers some degree
of privacy; on the signal to prepare for action these partitions would be
taken down and stowed in a lower deck - or even thrown overboard if time was a
hammock was also quite luxurious
was his day cabin
spite of Nelson's best efforts in closing with the enemy, the gap was too
great and the combined Franco/Spanish fleet returned safely to Europe.
2 NELSON AND EMMA
going on to the battle I would like to say a few words about Nelson's private
life No account of Trafalgar and its hero, Nelson, would be complete without
mentioning Lady Emma Hamilton. As famous in Britain, as is Inês de Castro and
her D. Pedro I of Portugal that have just completed 650 years, this romance
between Nelson and Emma was very controversial; a scandal, even though it
involved Britain's greatest hero.
was born in Norfolk in the village of Burnham Thorpe, the son of a country
he is as a child, aged 8 years, when his mother died.
joined the navy, as was usual, at the age of 12, and rose through the ranks to
the age of 39, in 1787 whilst serving in the West Indies, he married the widow
Frances Nisbet, 'Fanny', as she was known. They did not have any children.
Long periods away at sea, and meeting Emma finally put an end to his marriage.
early life was not unlike that of many girls, at that time, who were born poor
but gifted with charm and beauty.
real name was Amy Lyon, the daughter of a Cheshire blacksmith. At an early age
she moved to London and started work as a domestic servant. Soon she had
changed her name to Emma Hart and had become the mistress of Sir Henry
Fethersonhaugh - this arrangement lasted until he discarded her, for becoming
pregnant; she then settled down to work in a brothel. By then she was 17 years
next hear of her as the mistress of the Hon. Charles Grenville. After a while,
this gentleman, in dire straights because of his debts, persuaded his rich
uncle, diplomat Sir William Hamilton, a widower, to have her in exchange for
paying all his debts; in effect, he sold her to him!
everyone's surprise Sir William and Emma were married in 1791- she was
twenty-six, he was sixty. Sir William and Lady Emma Hamilton moved to Naples
where he headed the British legation.
Kingdom of Two Sicilies was ruled by the Bourbon king Ferdinand IV and his
wife Maria Carolina. His great passions were hunting and fishing and cooking
the products of his efforts and selling them in his own shop! Known as IL Re
Nasone - because of his large and distinct nose, he was quite content to let
his queen, Maria Carolina rule in his name.
was a great success in their court. Quickly learning French and Italian she
would delight the nobility with her theatrical sketches.
they had met several times before, the love affair between Nelson and Emma
began, in earnest, when he returned to Naples to recover from his wounds,
after his extraordinary victory at Aboukir Bay - there he destroyed
Bonaparte's fleet that had transported the army that had then invaded Egypt.
husband did not appear to mind and so began, what the French so ably describe,
a 'menage à trois'. Even Georgian England that held moral values rather
loosely, was shocked.
affair was ammunition for caricaturists who would not let their public forget
her past life.
William was now transferred back to England
lived for most of the time in Nelson's country house 'Merton Place'.
also in Sir William's house, in Piccadilly, where Nelson's only child Horatia
was born in 1801. Sir William eventually died in 1803.
both Sir William and Nelson left Emma money, she could not bring herself to
reduce the lavish way to which she had been accustomed. In 1814 she went to
the Debtor's Jail, and next year after Nelson's friends had bailed her out,
went to live in a room in Calais, where she died, at the age of 50 - an
3 THE BATTLE, OCTOBER 1805
August of 1805 Nelson returned to England for a well-earned rest - he had been
2 years at sea. He was afraid that his home-coming might not be so pleasant,
as he brought no victories with him. He need not have worried, the cheering
crowds were there to greet him - they had not forgotten the Nile or Copenhagen
Battles. On the 2nd of September his brief rest would come to an end - news
was received by the Admiralty that the combined fleets of France and Spain
were in Cadiz harbour. Nelson, now commander of the Mediterranean and as far
as Cadiz, weighed anchor in the Victory on Sunday the 15th. On the 29th,
together with the main part of his fleet, he was on station some 50 miles from
hoped that he could fool the enemy in coming out, so he placed small ships
within sight of them and then created a chain of communication vessels,
invisible from the harbour, leading to the fleet.
had frequent meetings with his captains, when detailed plans were drawn up;
they were known as his 'Band of Brothers'. Here is a caricature of one of
favourite captain was Thomas Hardy, captain of his flagship. Towards the end
of his brilliant career he would become 1st Lord of the Admiralty.
obtaining the advantage of the wind, the plan was to attack in two columns,
the weather and the lee and, at right-angles, go through the enemy line
passing between his ships. They would be subject to heavy punishment (as they
had no forward pointing guns so could not defend themselves) during the 20
minutes or so needed to close with the enemy. But then they could rake (fire
along the length of the hulls) the enemy and, in a few short minutes, cause
immense damage - next they would try to tie themselves to a ship, to board and
capture her, sailors and marines in hand-to-hand fighting. Nelson himself
would lead the weather column and
Sir Cuthbert Collingwood, 1748-1810, the lee.
at Cádiz, the French Admiral Villeneuve was apprehensive of leaving this safe
harbour; as was subsequently shown by documentation. Bonaparte became
increasingly irritated at his lack of fighting spirit and eventually decided
to transfer the command to Admiral Rosily; his orders, however, did not arrive
in time. Although knowing that in spite of his superior force his better
trained opponents stood a greater chance of winning, it was the greater fear
of Bonaparte and personal retaliation from him (guillotine?) that eventually
made him weigh anchor and sail.
being informed that the enemy was preparing to sail and later, that they were
out in the open sea, Nelson maneuvered his fleet in order to obtain the
advantage of the light breeze. It took him until the morning of the next day,
October 21st, to reach this position.
can be seen here, leading the weather line just before turning to run for the
is another painting of this famous line-of-battle-ship,
the British were out-numbered and, more important, had 20% fewer guns, they
were confident in their training and in their commander.
this and another painting appearing later on, after the battle, were painted
by Britain's' foremost marine artist Nicholas Pocock.
P3 11 Slide P3 08
two columns now turned and sailed, as fast as possible, towards the enemy.
had previously been agreed that, to spare the Admiral, the Victory would not
lead the weather column. Nelson, at the last minute, changed his mind and
signaled HMS Temeraire to take up station behind him. Here they are seen
'racing' for the enemy line.
was at this moment that Nelson made a signal to all the ships of his fleet
that would become, perhaps, the most famous signal in all naval history!
EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY
Victory advances towards the line, taking the full brunt of the enemy's fire.
P3 12 and Slide P3 13
then crosses it, raking the Bucentaure
this very moment Nelson falls onto the deck, hit by a round fired by a sniper
from one of the yardarms of the Bucentaure. The bullet entered his shoulder,
from above, pieced a lung and lodged near his spine. He is carried below, his
face covered by a handkerchief, to try and disguise his identity.
P3 16 Slide P3 17 Slide P3 18
all sides the battle erupts in earnest. Unlike a land battle, after the formal
attack by the lines, small groups of ships fight each other until one of them
surrenders, signaled by lowering her ensign. There are many such scenes
recorded, as artists would be taken along for just this purpose - here are
some of them.
and paintings, however, cannot convey the awful reality of a sea battle. So I
thought I would read to you extracts from an eye-witness, a young marine (of
HMS Belleisle), Lieut. Paul Harris Nicholas. Don't worry about the names of
the ship's parts as the different slides will show them.
P3 19 Slide P3 19A Slide P3 19B
Slide P3 19C Slide P3 19D/E
was scarcely sixteen when I embarked for the first time, in the Belleisle of
eighty guns, and joined the fleet off Cadiz, under the command of Lord Nelson,
in the early part of October, 1805. On the 19th of that month the appearance
of a ship under a press of sail steering for the fleet and firing guns,
excited our attention, and every glass was pointed towards the stranger in
anticipation of the intelligence which the repeating ships soon announced
"That the enemy was getting under way." The signal was instantly
made for a general chase, and in a few minutes all sail was set by the
delighted crew. Our advanced ships got sight of the combined fleet the next
morning, and in the afternoon of the 20th they were visible from the deck.
Every preparation was made for battle; and as our look-out squadron remained
close to them during the night, the mind was kept in continual agitation by
the firing of guns and rockets.
As the day dawned the horizon appeared covered with ships. The whole force of
the enemy was discovered standing to the southward, distant about nine miles,
between us and the coast near Trafalgar. I was awakened by the cheers of the
crew and by their rushing up the hatchways to get a glimpse of the hostile
fleet. The delight manifested exceeded anything I ever witnessed, surpassing
even those felt when our native cliffs are descried after a long period of
distant service. There was a light air from the north-west with a heavy swell.
The signal to bear up and make all sail and to form the order of sailing in
two divisions was thrown out. The Victory, Lord Nelson's ship, leading the
weather line, and the Royal Sovereign, bearing the flag of Admiral
Collingwood, the second in command, the lee line. At eight the enemy wore to
the northward, and owing to the light wind, which prevailed during the day,
they were prevented from forming with any precision, and presented the
appearance of a double line convexing to leeward. At nine we were about six
miles from them, with studdingsails set on both sides; and as our progress
never exceeded a mile and a half an hour, we continued all the canvas we could
spread until we gained our position alongside our opponent.
The officers now met at breakfast; and though each seemed to exult in the hope
of a glorious termination to the contest so near at hand, a fearful presage
was experienced that all would not again unite at that festive board. One was
particularly impressed with a persuasion that he should not survive the day,
nor could he divest himself of this presentiment, but made the necessary
disposal of his property in the event of his death. The sound of the drum,
however, soon put an end to our meditations and after a hasty and, alas, a
final farewell to some, we repaired to our respective posts. Our ship's
station was far astern of our leader, but her superior sailing caused an
interchange of places with the Tonnant. On our passing that ship the captains
greeted each other on the honorable prospect in view. Captain Tyler exclaimed:
"A glorious day for old England! We shall have one apiece before
At half-past ten the Victory telegraphed "England expects every man will
do his duty." As this emphatic injunction was communicated through the
decks, it was received with enthusiastic cheers, and each bosom glowed with
ardour at this appeal to individual valour. About half-past eleven the Royal
Sovereign fired three guns, which had the intended effect of inducing the
enemy to hoist their colours, and showed us the tricoloured flag intermixed
with that of Spain.
The drum now repeated the summons, and the Captain sent for the officers
commanding at their several quarters. "Gentlemen," said he, "I
have only to say that I shall pass close under the stern of that ship; put in
two round shot and then a grape, and give her that. Now go to your quarters,
and mind not to fire until each gun will bear with effect." With this
laconic instruction the gallant little man posted himself on the slide of the
foremost carronade on the starboard side of the quarterdeck....
The determined and resolute countenance of the weather-beaten sailor, here and
there brightened by a smile of exultation, was well suited to the terrific
appearance which they exhibited. Some were stripped to the waist; some had
bared their necks and arms; others had tied a handkerchief round their heads;
and all seemed eagerly to await the order to engage. My two brother officers
and myself were stationed, with about thirty men at small arms, on the poop,
on the front of which I was now standing. The shot began to pass over us and
gave us an intimation of what we should in a few minutes undergo. An awful
silence prevailed in the ship, only interrupted by the commanding voice of
Captain Hargood, "Steady! starboard a little! steady so!" echoed by
the Master directing the quartermasters at the wheel. A shriek soon followed -
a cry of agony was produced by the next shot - and the loss of the head of a
poor recruit was the effect of the succeeding, and as we advanced, destruction
rapidly increased. A severe contusion on the breast now prostrated our
Captain, but he soon resumed his station. Those only who have been in a
similar situation to the one I am attempting to describe can have a correct
idea of such a scene. My eyes were horrorstruck at the bloody corpses around
me, and my ears rang with the shrieks of the wounded and the moans of the
At this moment, seeing that almost every one was lying down, I was half
disposed to follow the example and several times stooped for the purpose, but
- and I remember the impression well - a certain monitor seemed to whisper,
"Stand up and do not shrink from your duty." Turning round, my much
esteemed and gallant senior fixed my attention; the serenity of his
countenance and the composure with which he paced the deck, drove more than
half my terrors away; and joining him I became somewhat infused with his
spirit, which cheered me on to act the part it became me. My experience is an
instance of how much depends on the example of those in command when exposed
to the fire of the enemy, more particularly in the trying situation in which
we were placed for nearly thirty minutes from not having the power to
It was just twelve o'clock when we reached their line. Our energies became
roused, and the mind diverted from its appalling condition, by the order of
"Stand to your guns!" which, as they successively came to bear were
discharged into our opponents on either side; but as we passed close under the
stern of Santa Ana, of 112 guns, our attention was more strictly called to
that ship. Although until that moment we had not fired a shot, our sails and
rigging bore evident proofs of the manner in which we had been treated; our
mizzentopmast was shot away and the ensign had been thrice rehoisted; numbers
lay dead upon the decks, and eleven wounded were already in the surgeon's
care. The firing was now tremendous, and at intervals the dispersion of the
smoke gave us a sight of the colours of our adversaries.
At this critical period, while steering for the stern of L'Indomptable (our
masts and yards and sails hanging in the utmost confusion over our heads),
which continued a most galling raking fire upon us, the Fougeux being on our
starboard quarter, and the Spanish San Juste on our larboard bow, the Master
earnestly addressed the Captain.
"Shall we go through, sir?" "Go through by _____" was his
en ergetic reply. "There's your ship, sir, place me close alongside of
her". Our opponent defeated this maneuver by bearing away in a parallel
course with us within pistol shot.
About one o'clock the Fougeux ran us on board the starboard side; and we
continued thus engaging until the latter dropped astern. Our mizzenmast soon
went, and soon afterwards the main topmast. A two decked ship, the Neptune,
80, then took a position on our bow, and a 74, the Achille, on our quarter. At
two o'clock the mainmast fell over the larboard side. I was at the time under
the break of the poop aiding in running a carronade, when a cry of "Stand
clear there! here it comes!" made me look up, and at that instant the
mainmast fell just above me. At half-past two our foremast was shot away close
to the deck. In this unmanageable state we were but seldom capable of annoying
our antagonists, while they had the power of choosing their distance, and
every shot from them did considerable execution. We had suffered severely as
must be supposed; and those on the poop were now ordered to assist at the
quarter deck guns, where we continued till the action ceased. Until half-past
three we remained in this harassing situation. The only means at all in our
power of bringing our battery towards the enemy, was to use the sweeps out of
the gunroom ports; to these we had recourse, but without effect, for even in
ships under perfect command they prove almost useless, and we lay a mere hulk
covered in wreck and rolling in the swell.
At this hour a three-decked ship was seen apparently steering towards us; it
can easily be imagined with what anxiety every eye turned towards this
formidable object, which would either relieve us from our unwelcome neighbours
or render our situation desperate. We had scarcely seen the British colours
since one o'clock, and it is impossible to express our emotion as the
alteration of the stranger's course displayed the white ensign to our sight.
We did not, however, continue much longer in this dilemma, for soon the
Swiftsure came nobly to our relief. Everyone eagerly looked towards our
approaching friend, who came speedily on, and when within hail manned the
rigging, cheered, and then boldly steered for the ship which had so long
annoyed us. Shortly after the Polyphemus took off the fire from the Neptune on
our bow. It was near four o'clock when we ceased firing, but the action
continued in the body of the fleet about two miles to windward....
About five o'clock the officers assembled in the captain's cabin to take some
refreshment. The parching effects of the smoke made this a welcome summons,
although some of us had been fortunate in relieving our thirst by plundering
the captain's grapes which hung round his cabin; still four hours' exertion of
body with the energies incessantly employed, occasioned a lassitude, both
corporeally and mentally, from which the victorious termination now so near at
hand, could not arouse us; moreover there sat a melancholy on the brows of
some who mourned the messmates who had shared their perils and their
vicissitudes for many years. Then the merits of the departed heroes were
repeated with a sigh, but their errors sunk with them into the deep.
this series of mental images describing the gradual increase in the punishment
taken by the Belleisle, this final picture speaks for itself.
seams incredible that a ship can receive so much punishment and continue
decks Nelson, after 3 hours of agony, finally passes away. Even before death
he had the satisfaction of knowing that his men had obtained a resounding
day a hard gale blew and the ships, undermanned through injury, holed below
the water-line, masts and spars missing, suffered a second battle - with the
Here shown is the Spanish flagship, the 136 gun Santíssima Trinidad (the
largest ship in the fight), about to sink. Over the Spanish ensign flutters
the flag of an admiral of the white, who had taken her. In fact Nelson was
admiral of the blue, so all the ships under him should have had a flag ¾ blue
and the jack occupying a corner; but he believed that the colour white was
easier to see and recognize as a friend, in the heat of battle.
end of the battle as seen by the same marine artist, Nicholas Pocock, the
results include the ships lost because of next day's gales. The French and
Spanish lost 21 ships while England, though many of her ships were badly
damaged - lost none. The loss of lives, injured and taken prisoner accompanies
leaving the scene of the battle, I would like to give you the French version
of Trafalgar, published in the Le Moniteur, a kind of French 'Diario Oficial'
of those times. After all, so they say, there are always two sides to every
NELSON KILLED IN DUEL WITH VILLENEUVE
ENGLISH FLEET DESTROYED AT TRAFALGAR
operations of the Imperial Navy mirror in the Atlantic those of the grand
Imperial Army in Germany
English fleet is annihilated - Nelson is no more. Indignant at being inactive
in Port, while our brave brothers were gaining laurels in Germany, Admirals
Villeneuve and Gravina resolved to put to sea and give the English a fight.
They were superior in number, 45 to our 33, but what is that, to men
determined to fight and win. Nelson did everything to avoid a battle, he
attempted to enter the Mediterranean, but we chased him, and caught him off
Trafalgar. In vain did the English Admiral try to avoid action but the Spanish
Admiral Oliva prevented his escape, and lashed his vessel to the English
flagship. The English ship was one of 186 guns; the Santíssima Trinidad was
but a 74.
Nelson adopted a new system, afraid of meeting us in the old way, in which he
knows we have superiority of skill. He attempted a new mode of fighting. For a
short time he confused us, but what can confuse his Imperial Majesty's navy
for long? We fought yard-arm to yard-arm, gun to gun.
Nelson still resisted. It was now a race to see who would board and have the
honour of taking him; French or Spanish. Two admirals on each side disputed
the honour and boarded his ship at the same moment. Villeneuve flew onto the
quarter-deck and with the usual generosity of the French, he carried a brace
of pistols in his hands. He knew the Admiral had lost an arm, and could not
use his sword so he offered a pistol to Nelson, they fought, and at the second
shot Nelson fell. He was immediately carried below. Oliva, Gravina, and
Villeneuve attended him with the accustomed French humanity. Meanwhile 15
English ships of the line had struck (surrendered), four more were obliged to
follow their example and another blew up. Our victory was now complete, and we
prepared to take possession of our prizes, but the elements were by this time
unfavourable to us and a dreadful storm came on.
storm was long and dreadful but our ships being so well manoeuvred, rode out
the gale. The English, being so much more damaged, were driven ashore, and
many of them were wrecked. At length when the gale ceased, 13 of the French
& Spanish line returned safely to Cadiz; the other 20 have, no doubt, gone
to some other ports and will soon be reported. We shall repair our damage as
speedily as possible and then go again in pursuit of the enemy.
so much for that version!!
the next few days the fleet, much damaged but exhilarated by their victory,
'limped' into the nearest naval base - the Garrison of Gibraltar.
the Victory, still under tow, approaches Gibraltar.
admiralty had planned to transfer Nelson's body to a fast frigate and then
take it to London, as soon as possible, for burial. The crew of the Victory,
however, refused to hand over his body - it was being kept in a cask of
spirits - and so there was a month's delay until the Victory could be repaired
and sail to London.
were freely available on board - each sailor was allowed, daily, half a pint
of rum (of a strength illegal today!) watered down by two parts of water to
one of rum.
shown as injured would in fact die from their wounds. In the heart of the city
of Gibraltar there exists the Trafalgar cemetery, where these men were buried.
arrival, in London, of the Victory set off perhaps the most grandiose funeral
ever seen - the Thames, covered in barges, accompanying the funeral procession
- on shore thousands watched these last few moments - Nelson was, more than
anything else, a 'peoples' hero.
6 royal dukes, sons of George III, 32 admirals and over 250 captains
accompanied the hearse.
St. Paul's was filled to capacity.
was a funeral worthy of a man that had put his nation before all else and by
his leadership earned him the title of England's greatest hero.
ensured a wave of idolatry - apart from poems, pamphlets and posters, many
paintings were made of his 'resurrection'.
the English hero is being lifted to heaven whilst below him his grieving men
watch as the battle blazes away. To the left Britannia helps him on the way
whilst Neptune receives him and Fame crowns him with laurels.
this painting Neptune passes Nelson into the arms of Britannia.
final and permanent tribute to posterity is this monument that graces London's
skyline. From this central square, in front of the National Gallery, radiates
The Mall - passing under Admiralty Arch leading to the palaces of St. James
and Buckingham; Whitehall, leading to the Ministries, Westminster Abbey and
the Houses of Parliament; and, finally, the Strand - leading to the Inns of
Court and the City.
recognized the valour of his action and the benefits that would accrue to
Britain through his victory. They awarded him an earldom but, as he had no
legitimate heirs, it went to his brother William - a vicar in a small village.
With the earldom - in today's money - 4 million pounds - to purchase a
suitable estate and an annual pension ad perpetuam of 200 thousand pounds.
This pension lasted until shortly after the 2nd world war when it was
purchased from the family by the Atlee government.