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Trafalgar Day and Nelson's death marked on HMS Victory
HMS Victory, Portsmouth
HMS Victory stands today as the world's oldest commissioned warship

The 205th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and Lord Nelson's death is being marked on board HMS Victory.

During the annual ceremony at Portsmouth's naval base a laurel wreath is laid on the deck where Admiral Nelson was fatally wounded in battle.

The flagship also displays 32 flags - hoisted in sequence on the battle ship's three masts.

A 205-year-old gun of the type used on HMS Victory will be fired in salute at Fort Nelson, followed by a service.

Covering nearly 19 acres, Fort Nelson was built to protect against invasion from the French.

'Nelson touch'

Victory's Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Oscar Whild said: "Nelson was keen to look after his men, before the battle he was writing to the admiralty to suggest that they give the men cocoa for breakfast to improve morale."

HMS Victory
The ship is made from 90% oak

The Battle of Trafalgar reached its peak on 21 October, 1805.

Naval commander Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson was commanding the battle on board the 226ft (69m) oak battle ship heading for the enemy line.

He said: "Nelson's tactics on the day of the battle weren't necessarily new, but he combined them together with his leadership and his 'Nelson touch' as he called it to annihilate the combined French and Spanish fleet on that day."

Naval power

HMS Victory, now the oldest commissioned warship in the world, could spread a maximum of 37 sails and at 10-11 knots, about 12mph, she was also one of the fastest.

Nelson was shot in the battle off Cape Trafalgar by a French sniper just after 1pm; he was taken below deck and died shortly before 4.30pm.

With 19 of their ships taken, the French surrendered.

The victory at Trafalgar meant that Britain was safe and was established as the world's strongest naval power for over a century.




SEE ALSO
HMS Victory cannon 'rare example'
12 Oct 10 |  Guernsey

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