Marking Trafalgar Day

22nd November 2020
BY Carson White, Warrant Officer

Trafalgar Day is celebrated on the 21st October. It remembers the victory of the British fleet over the Spanish and French forces at the Battle of Trafalgar on that same day in 1805.

On this day we also remember Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was shot and killed in the course of this battle, which he was most famous for winning. Nelson’s ingenuity at the Battle of Trafalgar was instrumental to the British victory but it's a common misconception that he was in command on that day - he was actually serving under a man named Cuthbert Collingwood. Nevertheless, his new tactics meant that none of the 27 British ships serving that day were lost, while 22 of the 33 members of the Franco-Spanish fleet were lost.

Sadly, we were unable to celebrate Trafalgar Day on the actual day, so Reverend Maidment, our new chaplain and latest recruit to the Royal Navy, put together a wonderful service in November and the Royal Navy cadets decided to mark the event in their own way. Since the start of term, the youngest recruits have been learning the various forms of communication used by the armed forces, including Morse code, the phonetic alphabet, flags, radio communication and semaphore. Therefore we decided to reenact Nelson’s famous message from the morning of that battle: England expects that every man will do his duty.

It is an appropriate reminder about the purpose of the armed forces: to serve a greater cause. But it’s also an example of emboldening leadership. The CCF at Winchester is largely pupil-led and pupil-taught, nurturing the necessary qualities of leadership even in the newest recruits and Nelson, not least on this day, is a good model for us to follow.

Photos by Carson White and Kushe Sagge.

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