Monday, 21 October 2013

The Immortal Memory

It was 208 years ago today that Admiral Lord Nelson led the British fleet - out-numbered in ships, guns and men -  to victory over the combined French and Spanish fleets, thereby ensuring the Napoleon would be unable to invade England.  Indeed, there are those who maintain that it was this victory that paved the way for Wellington to finally defeat the French at Waterloo almost ten years later.  Certainly it meant that there would be no challenge to the Royal Navy's supremacy of the seas for more than 100 years.

I am still able to recall how interesting my history teacher made this subject with his chalked diagram of the battle - similar to the picture below.

Of course, every Englishman (or nearly every Englishman) can quote Nelson's famous signal:

Many naval institutions hold Trafalgar Night dinners.  According to the Royal Naval Museum Library,
The Loyal Toast: Diners should stand - unless the company are naval officers who are specifically authorised to remain seated. The toast itself, by Royal decree, is "The Queen".
The Immortal Memory toast: A Trafalgar Night speech is usually made by a guest of honour. If a speaker has not been arranged, the proposer of the toast will precede it with some Nelsonian comments, and can vary in length according to the custom of the diners. The toast itself is "The Immortal Memory" and is drunk standing in total silence. This is customary out of respect of the memory of the Admiral.

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