Navy remembers on 216th anniversary of Nelson’s greatest victory – and his death

Naval officers have gathered to mark the anniversary of Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine, led the celebrations aboard HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which involved a wreath being laid on the spot Lord Nelson died 216 years ago.

Battle of Trafalgar anniversary
A wreath rests at the spot where Admiral Lord Nelson was shot and fell at the battle of Trafalgar, after a ceremony onboard HMS Victory in Portsmouth to mark the 216th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The ceremony, which was reduced in size last year to meet Covid-19 regulations at the time, began with the daily naval ceremony of Colours in which the white ensign and the union flag are hauled up.

This was followed by the flag sequence indicating Nelson’s famous message to the fleet: “England expects that every man will do his duty”.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: “Trafalgar Day is the most important day in the calendar of HMS Victory, the oldest commissioned warship in the world.

“About 70 officers, ratings cadets and guests, including the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and representatives of the United States, Polish, Turkish and New Zealand militaries, watched as Vice Admiral Hine laid a wreath on the spot Lord Nelson fell during the battle.”

Lord Nelson was shot dead by a French sniper as the Royal Navy claimed victory over the French and Spanish navies at Trafalgar, off Cadiz, Spain, on October 21 1805.