We keep talking about the number of anniversaries in 2015, so perhaps we can squeeze in one more. The 210th anniversary of Trafalgar will fall on 21st October 2015, highlighting that it took a decade after this famous sea battle for Napoleon to be defeated on land at Waterloo.
In September 2001, we were travelling through Spain, a trip that we remember vividly because of the terrible events in New York on the 11th, which we barely understood as it was difficult to get hold of news. A few days later, we reached Gibraltar and visited the Trafalgar cemetery. We were then anxious for the holiday to finish, as we wanted to find out what books were available on Trafalgar and if it was a viable subject for us to tackle for our next book. As it happened, we both embarked on different projects, and it was Roy who wrote the Trafalgar book. Since then, we have resumed writing our books as joint authors.
Like all our books, it was not written for a specialist reader who wanted a blow-by-blow account of every single ship’s manoeuvres. Instead, it deals with Continue reading →
Today is Trafalgar Day, marking the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805, in which the Royal Navy defeated the combined French and Spanish navy. In the battle, Nelson was killed, along with thousands of seamen and officers from both sides.
Last week we were revisiting Topsham, once an important port situated by the River Exe south of Exeter. Whenever we are travelling, we try to make time to look at some of the churches and churchyards that we pass. Often these have monuments dating back four or five centuries. If these were letters or other pieces of paper in a record office, they would be considered exceptionally rare, but as gravestones or church monuments, they are seldom noticed. You do not have to travel great distances, or look very far back in time, to find interesting monuments. Right on our doorstep at Topsham, we found a monument to a seaman who had fought at the Battle of Trafalgar. At the 200th anniversary of the battle in 2005, many of these Trafalgar monuments, such as this one, were restored.
Memorial to Thomas Randle, Trafalgar veteran
The inscription reads:
WHO WAS MANY YEARS
IN THE ROYAL NAVY
HAVING SERVED IN SEVERAL SHIPS
AND AS QUARTERMASTER
ON BOARD THE VICTORY
AT THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
JAN. 2ND 1851
Thomas Randle did not originally intend to make a career in the Royal Navy. There was always a desperate need for recruits, and most men who wanted to join the navy at that time were signed up in their teenage years – some were only 10 or 11 years old. Thomas was forced into the navy by a press gang Continue reading →