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Naval officers and ratings, a Royal Marines bugler and civilians at the Nelson Monument last Friday celebrate the life of our national hero on Trafalgar Day. Picture:  Allan Smith
Naval officers and ratings, a Royal Marines bugler and civilians at the Nelson Monument last Friday celebrate the life of our national hero on Trafalgar Day. Picture: Allan Smith

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Last Friday my colleague Bob Hind published a 1937 photograph of a remembrance service for Admiral Lord Nelson on the brow of Portsdown Hill on Trafalgar Day.

He asked if the ceremony still took place. I am glad to tell you it does and it is all down to one woman, Jane Smith of the Nelson Society.

She says: ‘A service always used to be held, I think up to the 1960s.

‘Unfortunately it then fell into abeyance when the person who organised it died and the responsibility for its upkeep was transferred from HMS Dryad to HMS Collingwood.

‘In 2007 The Nelson Society published a booklet I had written about its history entitled The Nelson Monument, Portsdown Hill: A Seamark Re-Discovered. However, as its history had been lost for almost 200 years, I realised a booklet on its own wasn’t enough to keep the purpose of the monument alive. I then initiated efforts to get the service re-instated.’

Jane adds: ‘Luckily, HMS Collingwood was very helpful.

‘Now every year since then it provides a chaplain to give the service and its executive officer lays a wreath to the memory of Lord Nelson and his comrades-in-arms.
‘We also have representatives there from other organisations such as Fort Nelson, the Portchester Society and The Nelson Society, plus members of the public and ex-service personnel.’