Childhood books are still an inspiration to this day

Simon Hart's drawing of HMS Victory done at Red Barn School, Portchester
Simon Hart's drawing of HMS Victory done at Red Barn School, Portchester

THIS WEEK IN 1993: ‘Despicable’ attack on Armistice Day

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For those of us for whom Ladybird books were an integral part of growing up, today’s Remember When will stir fond memories.

They did for Simon Hart, of St Anne’s Grove, Fareham, when he found his immaculate 1980 copy of Nelson.

Nelson leaving Portsmouth for the last time

Nelson leaving Portsmouth for the last time

He says: ‘For me Ladybird books awakened childhood interests, one such being Nelson and HMS Victory. The illustrations are so colourful and reassuring and accompanied by such approachable text.’

Simon recalls being asked at Red Barn School, Portchester, in the early 1980s, to draw a picture. He chose Victory as inspired by the Nelson book and that’s it on the right.

Apart from the book he also sent me two cigarette cards from his collection.

They show Victory’s anchor at Southsea and Nelson’s famous diamond aigrette.

A cigarette card of ''HMS Victory's anchor

A cigarette card of ''HMS Victory's anchor

Simon says: ‘The anchor card is a previous generation’s belief of where Nelson embarked for Trafalgar. It’s a matter of debate. Spur Redoubt is the favoured location of this generation.’

The aigrette, a head-dress ornament, triggers a debate among Nelsonians to this day.

Simon adds: ‘Did Nelson wear this famous diamond piece for the last time on English soil in Portsmouth as he embarked? This fancy jewel is now lost but its radiance was attributed to making Nelson a more obvious target which led to his death. Perhaps someone can answer this?

The diamond aigrette presented to Nelson by the Sultan of Turkey

The diamond aigrette presented to Nelson by the Sultan of Turkey