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A memento from Trafalgar


JMW Turner's depiction of the Battle of Trafalgar
Collection National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

On this day in 1805, a British fleet led by Horatio Nelson dealt a crushing defeat to Napoleon's plans to invade Britain. Nelson and the battle are described here. You might find the account interesting. Losing his mother when he was nine, and going to sea when he was twelve, Nelson was seasick and insubordinate. However, he grew up to be quite incredible, and his willingness to think outside the box saved Britain.

Earlier today, the only surviving Union Jack from the battle, its fabric torn by splinter fragments, was sold at auction for twenty times its pre-auction price. It flew on HMS Spartiate.

The flag was presented by the 540-strong crew to Fife-born Lieutenant James Clephan after the conflict, a rare and high honour. They had pieced the flag together from bunting.

Clephan had been press-ganged into the Royal Navy, and had risen through the ranks. His bravery was greatly admired by his crew.

There were many brave men at the Battle of Trafalgar.

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