Naval History

Battle Of Trafalgar: Royal Navy Marks Anniversary In Portsmouth

The Royal Navy has celebrated Trafalgar Day in Portsmouth, marking its victory on 21 October 1805.

Admiral Lord Nelson's fleet defeated the combined forces of France and Spain in the Atlantic, just off Cape Trafalgar in south-west Spain.

A memorial service was held on HMS Victory, on which flags were raised, as they were 214 years ago.

The commemorations were also a time to remember the deaths of nearly 4,000 sailors, including Admiral Lord Nelson, who was mortally wounded by a French musket ball.

A spot on deck marked where he was hit, and a wreath was laid where he fell.

Naval personnel mark Trafalgar Day.
Naval personnel mark Trafalgar Day.

Captain Ken Houlberg said: "The Battle of Trafalgar imbues all of the finest traditions and values that are in the Royal Navy of today.

"It is the day our Lord Nelson fell, just four yards from where I'm standing right now, and that captures the spirit of today's fighting Navy."

Lieutenant Commander B J Smith, HMS Victory's Captain, added: "It's a memorial to [Adm Nelson], but also to that Navy, and to our Navy.

"It also represents something with its ethos that runs through so it's also our way of reminding us where we came from and that way we can know where we want to go to as well."

The battle was a turning point for Britain as a naval power, confirming her supremacy on the seas for more than a century.