Registered: Mar 2004
Local time: 08:55 AM
Location: The Historic City of Portsmouth, England
It was almost 200 years ago that the British Fleet comanded by Englands greatest ever Naval Hero, Admiral Lord Nelson, engaged the cobined force of the French and Spainish navy at Cape Trafalgar.
The Franco-Spainish fleet was commanded by Admiral Villeneuve and had 33 French and Spanish war ships including the worlds biggest ship at the time in the Santisima Trinidad, where as Englands fleet, under Admiral Nelson and his second in command Admiral Collingwood, had 27 war ships including Nelsons Flagship HMS Victory and Collingwoods flagship HMS Royal Soveriegn.
Nelsons plan was to divide the fleet into two collums and split the Franco-Spanish fleet into three by steering the English ships straight through the enemies line.
"ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY" The single most famous signal ever raised at sea. With the signal from the Victory the fleet advanced on the enemy.
The Franco-Spanish fleet lined up with their guns pointing towards the oncoming English so that the English fleet with no guns on the front of their ships would have to endure enemy fire for a long while before they could retaliate.
Although Trafalgar will alway be remembered as Nelson's last and greatest victory it was not him and his flagship that engaged the enemy first. Collingwood and his Royal Soveriegn were the fastest ship in the second collum and broke the enemies line first. Collingwood and his crew had to endure at least twenty minitues alone with the enemy until the first of his collum caught up.
The Victory on the other side raced the Temeraire to be first into the enemy. The Victory was one of the oldest ships in the fleet but she still beat the Temeraire. She engaged the enemy by pushing the bow of the first ship she encountered so that they came along side each other. One after the other the Victories cannons opened fire and released a deadly ripple of cannon balls into the enemies side.
The French and Spanish had marksmen in the rigging of their ships and so, when the Victory came along side, the site of Admiral Lord Nelson walking the deck as the proud commander of the fleet was to good to miss. Nelson was struck with a musket ball that pierced his lung and lodged itself in his spine. He was rushed below deck while the Frech marksmen continues to fire on the the Victories deck crew. They had soon cleared the deck of all men.
The freanch ship was the Redoutable. Its captain had ordered all his crew on deck and prepared to board the Flagship and they would have succeded. However they didn't count on one thing, HMS Temeraire. The British ship came along side the French one and raked it, meaning it fired all its cannon at the ship as it passed, destroying the Redoutable's hull, with the Victory gunners help, and killing most of the crew.
By the end of the battle the Franco-Spanish fleet had been destroyed, captured or fled and the English fleet had lost no ships at all. Twelve enemy ships were captured but int the storms that followed only four survived.
England had won but in the process it had lost its greatest hero.
With Nelson knowing his death was iminant he requested not to be buried at sea but to return homw to be buried in England. His last words are always quoted as "Kiss me Hardy."
To this day nobody has equaled, or even come close to equaling, the amount of people that came to see Amdiral Lord Nelson laying in state, 1500 people came to see his body and even more came to see his last journey to St Pauls Cathedral, where his tombstone stands perfectly preserved. He was buried in the company of the Amry and Navys highest ranked officers and the Royal Family themselves.