THE top of Nelson’s Monument was covered in mist – but that didn’t stop people turning out at the historic landmark to pay their respects to Portsmouth’s fallen hero.
Crowds gathered at the monument on Portsdown Hill this morning as part of a service which marked Trafalgar Day.
Able Cadet Kye Wilson blew a bosun’s whistle – a signal used on ships at sea – to mark the start and end of a two-minute silence.
Three wreaths dedicated to Lord Horatio Nelson, who died during The Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, were laid at the granite base of the monument, which was built in 1807.
Prayers which supported Nelson’s efforts and present-day service personnel were led by Royal Navy chaplain the Reverend Janice Honey Morgan. She said: ‘It’s always a privilege to hold a remembrance service, particularly now as my friend Lieutenant Andrew Chesterman was killed in Afghanistan in August.’
Roy Goble, of Fareham, put down a fern wreath because he said Nelson was his hero.
Mr Goble, 70, said: ‘I bring a wreath up to this monument every year to mark Trafalgar Day.
‘Nelson is a hero. He saved the country and he looked after his men.
‘It’s so important that we continue to remember him. A lot of people don’t realise how important he is and what he did for us.’
The Lord’s Prayer, The Naval Prayer and extracts from the Bible were also read out during the service.
Lieutenant Commander Nigel Griffiths, who is based at HMS Collingwood, said Trafalgar Day was a huge occasion.
‘We met to give thanks for the life of Horatio Lord Nelson and to remember the part he played in ensuring the safety and freedom of this country,’ he said.
‘We wouldn’t be here today if it were not for Nelson.
‘He made this country what it is now.’
Neil Sherry, 59, of Portchester, went to pay his respects because his uncle Petty Officer Harold Paice died during the sinking of HMS Royal Oak in 1939.
‘My family have a strong affinity to the Royal Navy. And as a city it is so important that we continue to pay our respects to the people who have given their lives for us.
‘Nelson has given us the quality of life that we as a society now enjoy.’