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England Expects: Marking Trafalgar Day

19 October 2018

The famous signal flags displayed on Trafalgar Day

The famous signal flags displayed on Trafalgar Day

This Sunday (21st October) will mark the 213th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, one of the most significant dates in British Naval history and an occasion which will be marked with ceremony and opportunities to step back in history at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

HMS Victory, the dockyard's most famous attraction, is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and Trafalgar Day is the most important day in its annual calendar. It is the only day of the year on which visitors will be able to see the flag signal indicating Nelson's famous message to the fleet that "England expects that every man will do his duty", as it is flown over the ship throughout the day.

The day begins with a private ceremony on board, attended by representatives from the Royal Navy, to both celebrate the victory at Trafalgar and remember those on both sides who lost their lives. Following this the ship will be open to the public, with opportunities to explore each of the decks, from Nelson's cabin to the galley and gun decks.

Additionally this year visitors can get an extra taste of the history of Trafalgar, by visiting the impressive 'Trafalgar Sail' which is on display at the National Museum of the Royal Navy for the first time in five years. Kept under controlled conditions, this is one of the largest single fabric artefacts in the world - the only remaining foretopsail from HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar - and is complete with cannon holes and gunpowder marks.

Visitors who would like to view the signal flags should be mindful of The Simplyhealth Great South Run which is taking place on the same day in Portsmouth. Those travelling into the city should read our Great South Run Guide for more information on top travel tips and where you can see the race from.

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