Second Sea Lord leads Trafalgar Day commemorations

Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine CB, has led Trafalgar Day celebrations on board HMS Victory marking today’s 215th anniversary of the battle.

The Royal Navy is continuing Trafalgar Day traditions, but adjusted in scale to meet Government infection control requirements.

The day started at HM Naval Base Portsmouth, as always, with the daily naval ceremony of Colours, with the White Ensign and the Union Flag hauled up, followed shortly afterwards by the flag sequence indicating Nelson’s famous message to the fleet: “England expects that every man will do his duty”.

Lieutenant Commander Brian Smith, Victory’s 101st Commanding Officer is hugely proud to play a key role in the ceremony.

He said: “Being Commanding Officer of HMS Victory is a huge privilege and Trafalgar Day is the most important day in our calendar. Having greatly admired Admiral Nelson since childhood it is a great honour to take a lead role in the Trafalgar Day Service. It is a poignant and significant event when we remember the courage of Nelson, our greatest naval hero but also remember the sacrifice of many hundreds of men on both sides.

"Trafalgar Day remains relevant today to the modern Royal Navy as we continue to maintain the legacy of Nelson’s Navy to this maritime nation, protecting our interests across the globe. As we honour the memory of Nelson and the sailors of Trafalgar, we also remember our fellow servicemen and women serving in today’s Royal Navy and Royal Marines.”

The Battle of Trafalgar changed the course of British history and sealed Royal Navy dominion of the seas for more than a hundred years.

Nelson’s tactical genius in splitting the line of enemy ships had already set the pre-conditions for victory, when only an hour into the battle, Nelson was hit by a French sharpshooter’s musket ball as he paced Victory’s quarterdeck, directing the battle. 

Being Commanding Officer of HMS Victory is a huge privilege and Trafalgar Day is the most important day in our calendar. Having greatly admired Admiral Nelson since childhood it is a great honour to take a lead role in the Trafalgar Day Service.

Lt Cdr Brian Smith, Victory’s 101st Commanding Officer