With the laying of wreaths and the famous signal, ‘England Expects’, the Royal Navy remembered its most famous hero today.
Sailors gathered on board HMS Victory this morning to mark 209 years since victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.
Scores of naval officers, junior ratings and civilians packed onto the lower gun deck, taking shelter from the blustery autumn day in the gloomy half-light on board.
Lieutenant Commander Rod Strathern is the 100th commanding officer of HMS Victory.
He said: ‘This was my third and final Trafalgar Day and I will try and hold on to every moment of that ceremony as it was pretty special to me.
‘I find the service very poignant, when we remember the courage of Nelson, the greatest of leaders but also the many hundreds of men on both sides who lost their lives
‘That day, the Royal Navy made history and it’s important to remember the navy continues to deliver for this maritime national daily.’
Lt Cdr Strathern read the general order issued by Lord Collingwood after the battle and Nelson’s personal prayer from the eve of the conflict.
Vice-Admiral David Steel, the Second Sea Lord, laid a wreath on the upper deck of Victory at the spot where Admiral Nelson fell wounded.
He said: ‘It is extremely important the Royal Navy continues to mark the significance of the Battle of Trafalgar.
‘Not only must we remember Admiral Nelson himself, but also those sailors who fought with him and the many others at sea at the time of the battle around the world.
‘While commemorating the Battle of Trafalgar it is important that the servicemen and women on operations today all across the globe, protecting the nation’s interests, are also not forgotten.’