HMS Victory’s last taste of salt water

HMS Victory being towed past a battleship to her final berth.
HMS Victory being towed past a battleship to her final berth.
A badly disabled sailor selling Nelson souvenirs on Southsea seafront, possibly in 1905.

NOSTALGIA: Nelson souvenirs for sale from one-armed Portsmouth sailor

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I have published many pictures of HMS Victory over the years, mostly of her standing off Gosport. But I thought you might like to see this shot of her on her final day in salt water.

It was taken on January 12, 1922, when she was towed to her final berth in the oldest dry dock in Portsmouth Dockyard. To save her from complete collapse she was encased in iron and cement.

Later, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Doveton Sturdee had an idea: ‘Why not restore the famous old craft to the condition in which she fought at Trafalgar?,’ he suggested.

It was believed it would cost £100,000 but surely it would be worth it for the nation to see her as she was under the command of England’s greatest hero. Restoration began the following year. Such was the interest that 1,500 people visited the ship in the first three weeks of the following August.

And so it was that Victory can now be seen as she appeared at Trafalgar... at least she will be when the masts are re-rigged and she looks great again.