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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 May, 2004, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Royal Navy to celebrate Trafalgar
HMS Victory
HMS Victory served as flagship to Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar
The Royal Navy has announced its plans for celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

Six days of events will take place in Portsmouth next summer, including a "son et lumiere" and a fleet review.

In October, the event Trafalgar 2005 will move to London to commemorate the death of Lord Nelson.

The programme was launched on Wednesday by the minister of armed forces, Adam Ingram, and the Royal Navy's most senior officer, Admiral Sir Alan West.

Focus on Portsmouth

They announced six days of events in Portsmouth, starting with a Fleet Review at Spithead on 28 June, to celebrate what is considered the Navy's finest victory.

The review of the fleet will have an international flavour, consisting of both naval and merchant ships, and some of the world's finest tall ships.

That evening there will be the son et lumiere, themed on a Napoleonic sea battle, featuring a firework display.

Later events include a Drumhead battlefield ceremony, bringing together maritime veterans of many nations, and a four-day International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth Naval Base.

In the autumn the Royal Navy's programme will move to London and focus on Vice Admiral Lord Nelson himself, and his contribution to the nation.

The celebrations are likely to include a special dinner on board HMS Victory, a service in St Paul's Cathedral, and an event in Trafalgar Square.

Historic victory

Lord Nelson
Lord Nelson led the Royal Navy to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 is widely recognised as the Navy's greatest victory, won at the cost of the life of its greatest hero, Vice Admiral Lord Nelson.

The victory against the combined fleets of France and Spain established Britain's supremacy at sea and freed the country from the long-held fear of invasion from Napoleon's armies.

Nelson died in the battle after he was shot in the back by a French marksman, as he stood on the quarterdeck of his flagship, HMS Victory.

The Victory is now on display at Portsmouth harbour.




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