Portsmouth pays tribute to the Royal Navy’s greatest leader

The service of commemoration for Nelson at Portsdown Hill yesterday
The service of commemoration for Nelson at Portsdown Hill yesterday
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IT STANDS proudly over the Portsmouth area as a permanent reminder of the heroism of one of Britain’s greatest naval leaders and his sailors.

And now a service to commemorate Trafalgar Day and life of Admiral Lord Nelson has been held at the Nelson monument.

Corporal Bugler Barnes and Commander David Johnston at the Nelson Monument

Corporal Bugler Barnes and Commander David Johnston at the Nelson Monument

This year marks the 212th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the service held on Portsdown Hill started off the weekend of commemorations.

The annual event was organised by the Nelson Society which prides itself in preserving the history of the famed naval leader’s legacy.

In attendance were full uniformed sea cadets while sailors from Fareham’s naval base, HMS Collingwood provided a guard of honour.

Servicemen laid wreaths alongside descendants of the crew who fought in the battle at the monument in remembrance of them.

A sermon was read which reflected over the life of Nelson and his contribution to our country and honouring his death in battle.

As part of the tradition the last post was played before a reading of Nelson’s Prayer.

Special mention was given to those currently serving in the Royal Navy and the armed forces.

Jared Thornton works at the visitors service office at Fort Nelson.

He said: ‘Trafalgar’s obviously very important.

‘It’s a significant victory that helped us survive invasion.

‘For the navy it’s very important but for the British Isles it’s got all its history. It’s legendary.’

Mr Thornton also confirmed that the gun firing scheduled for Sunday has been cancelled and in its place Fort Nelson will be holding a commemorative insight about the battle of Trafalgar.

He added: ‘We’ve got some authentic items from the period. There are several opportunities for families to handle the objects.’

The Nelson monument has been at Portsdown Hill since 1807 and looks out across the Solent.

The Battle of Trafalgar occurred in 1805 and although outnumbered, the British fleet won against the combined forces of the French and Spanish armada.

About 1,500 British seamen were killed or seriously wounded in the battle.

From HMS Victory Lord Nelson delivered his iconic message: ‘England expects for every man will do his duty’. He died during the fight.

Trafalgar Day takes place today and will be held on board of HMS Victory.