Naval tradition continues onboard HMS Victory as one of the most important anniversaries in the Royal Navy calendar, Trafalgar Day, was marked this year for the 206th time. A private ceremony onboard HMS Victory took place on Friday 21st October 2011 and the ship was dressed for the occasion with Nelson’s famous signal, despite extensive restoration work to the masts and rigging.
October 21st is the anniversary of the most decisive naval battle under sail in British history - Admiral Lord Nelson's triumph at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The anniversary also marks the death of the Royal Navy's most revered leader when he was fatally wounded during the action, which ultimately defeated a Franco-Spanish Fleet.
The hoisting of the Colours (Union Jack and White Ensign) and Nelson's signal ''England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty'' marked the start of the commemoration onboard HMS Victory. Following in this tradition, a team of ratings and staff from HMS Victory then hoisted the 32 flags in sequence on Victory's three masts.
HMS Victory’s Commanding Officer, Lt Cdr DJ ‘Oscar’ Whild RN said “The battle of Trafalgar is considered to be one of the most important Naval victories. By dying at the moment of victory, Nelson made Trafalgar magical, the ultimate achievement of war at sea and the very heart of a national identity. This year, on the 206th anniversary of that battle, we are very proud to hoist Nelson’s most famous signal from our three masts. Despite looking very different this year due to maintenance work on the upper masts, the signal is still a poignant reminder of the men who fought and lost their lives with Nelson during the battle.”
The central act of the commemoration onboard was the laying of a wreath on the spot where Nelson fell by the Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery. Further wreaths were laid on the Orlop where Nelson died by Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Buster Howes, and the ship's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander DJ ‘Oscar’ Whild Royal Navy.
A surprise visitor to HMS Victory on Trafalgar Day.
Master Herbie Stubberfield was spotted by the crew as he waited in the queue to visit HMS Victory, along with his sister and grandparents, on Trafalgar Day, Friday 21 October 2011. To commemorate his visit he was presented with a certificate signed by the Commanding Officer Lt Cdr D J ‘Oscar’ Whild.