HMS Victory in her True Colours

On the eve of the 210th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, the repainting of HMS Victory is drawing to a close  and the following short film captures her new look with timelapse and background interviews with the team involved and the research supporting it.

Andrew Baines, Head of Historic Ships at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and Project Director said “The really key point for us is that this is not what HMS Victory might have looked like, this is not what it would have looked like if we had done this 210  years ago, this is what it looked like, this is what Nelson saw….and when you come to visit Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard we tell you this is how something was, we want you to trust us and we want you to know that it’s right. That is the real motivation and the key decision for us in making the change.” 

 

 

Trafalgar Ceremony

 

The day starts with the daily naval ceremony of ‘Colours’, as the White Ensign of the Royal Navy and the Union Jack are hauled up, followed shortly afterwards by the flag sequence indicating Nelson’s famous message to the Fleet that “England expects that every man will do his duty” (Nelson’s final signal, as the mighty ships of the line of the Royal Navy and the combined Franco –Spanish Fleet clashed was “Engage the enemy more closely”)  

 

Nelson’s tactical genius in splitting the line of enemy ships had already set the pre-conditions for victory, when only an hour into the Battle, Nelson was hit by a French sharpshooters’ musket ball as he paced VICTORY’s quarterdeck, directing the Battle.  He fell, fatally wounded, on a spot marked by a lovingly polished brass plaque, which now forms the centrepiece of the Trafalgar Day Ceremony, when the Ship’s Admiral in Charge, Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock OBE, and Second Sea Lord, lays a wreath on the Plaque, in the ceremony led by the Reverend James Francis RN and Father Charles Bruzon RN.

Lieutenant Commander BJ Smith, VICTORY’s 101st Commanding Officer is hugely proud to play a key role in the Ceremony.

He said: “Taking over Command of HMS VICTORY this year 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”.

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands