The Quarter Deck was the ship’s nerve centre. Officers directed operations from here, whilst the ship was steered by the wheel under the overhang of the Poop Deck. On the morning of October 21st 1805 Nelson emerged on deck to view the enemy fleet, stretched out in front of Victory in a line some 5 miles long. Later that day, whilst pacing the Quarter deck with Victory’s Captain, Thomas Masterman Hardy, Nelson was shot by a French seaman in the rigging of La Redoutable. The place where Nelson fell is now marked by a simple brass plaque.
On receiving his wound, Nelson’s face and medals were covered by a handkerchief so as not to damage the morale of his crew, and the Admiral was carried below to Victory’s Orlop deck to receive what medical assistance was available.
Today, standing upon the quarter deck, it is possible to get a sense of how a 1strate ship of the line such as Victory dominated the surrounding area – standing as she does so high out of the water. Nelson is not alone in having stood here whilst battle was waged. Keppel, Kempenfelt, Howe and Jervis also fought battles from this spot, whilst other great names in the history of the Royal Navy such as Parker, Hood and Saumarez commanded fleets from this deck.