Trafalgar Day: Royal Navy marks commemoration on HMS Victory as remembrance service held at Nelson Monument

Remembrance services have been held on HMS Victory and across Portsmouth to mark Trafalgar Day.

Royal Navy sailors held commemorations on the oldest commissioned warship in the world today to honour the 218th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. A remembrance service was also held at the Nelson memorial in Portsdown Hill yesterday (October 20). Commemorations on HMS Victory started with the daily naval ceremony of “Colours”.

The White Ensign of the Royal Navy and the Union Jack were raised, with this being followed by the flag sequence indicating Nelson’s famous message to the Fleet that “England expects that every man will do his duty”. Admiral Lord Nelson’s final signal before the British and Franco-Spanish fleets clashed was “engage the enemy more closely”.

The British victory is one of the country’s most notable naval victory in history. Only an hour into the battle, Nelson was hit by a French sharpshooters’ musket ball as he paced along the quarterdeck of HMS Victory.

The spot where he was killed has been marked with a brass plaque, which formed the centrepiece of today’s ceremony. The Ship’s Admiral in Charge, Vice Admiral Martin Connell CBE, and Second Sea Lord, laid a wreath on the plaque.

Chaplain of the Fleet, the Venerable Andrew Hillier KHC, led the commemoration. Lieutenant Commander BJ Smith, HMS Victory’s 101st Commanding Officer, is hugely proud to play a key role in the Ceremony.

He said: “Being the Commanding Officer of HMS Victory is a huge privilege and Trafalgar Day is the most important day in our calendar. Having greatly admired Nelson since childhood it is a great honour to take a lead role in the Trafalgar Day Service.

"It is a poignant and significant event when we remember the courage of Nelson, our greatest naval hero but also remember the sacrifice of many hundreds of men on both sides. Trafalgar Day remains relevant today to the modern Royal Navy as we continue to maintain Nelson’s legacy to this maritime nation, protecting our interests across the globe.

"As we honour Nelson and the heroes of Trafalgar, we also remember our fellow servicemen and women serving in today’s Royal Navy and Royal Marines”.