Captured Le Genereux Flag

A French naval flag presented to Norwich by Admiral Lord Nelson more 200 years ago is to be displayed again for the first time in a century.

The huge 16 x 8.3m Ensign, believed to one of the oldest Tricolours in history, was captured with the battleship, Le Généreux, in 1800.

Admiral Lord Nelson
Lord Nelson was present when Captain Berry captured the Ensign - Norwich Museums Service
Nelson's flag
The colours were officially adopted by France on 15th February 1794 - Norfolk Museums Service

The French vessel was one of only two to escape the Battle of the Nile in 1798, where Lord Nelson secured a heroic victory.

Two years later, the ship was defeated in the Mediterranean by Captain Edward Berry, who took the Ensign as his prize.

Le Genereux Nail
A nail from the ship's capture was found in the Ensign's original hoist rope - Norfolk Museums Service
Nelson flag
It could be the earliest surviving Tricolour in the world - Norwich Museums Servic

The flag still contains traces of gunpowder and wood fragments, with conservation work allowing it to become a permanent display expected to cost around £40,000.

Ruth Battersby-Tooke, a curator at Norwich Castle, said:

"The Ensign is remarkable for its survival in such a complete state, given its age and inherent fragility."

She also described the flag as having a "stirring and thrilling history".

It will be exhibited for the first time since 1905 at the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery from July until October.

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