On May 7th 1765 a new ship sailed out of Chatham’s Royal Dockyard. She was HMS Victory, a first rate battleship and the largest in the Royal Navy.
In a long service she would serve in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars.
HMS Victory was built as a huge machine of war and achieved fame as the flagship of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson in Britain’s greatest naval victory, the defeat of the French and Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar.
It is impossible to imagine living in close quarters in a ship of the line, confronting each other at point blank range, the heavy guns blasting at each other.
Sailors were subjected to harsh treatment, one punishment being the cat o’nine tails where at the Captain’s discretion, a sailor could get anything from 12 to 36 lashes.
The marines on board HMS Victory were a separate force from the main crew. They wore red and white uniforms and even ate separately.
Nelson served in the Navy for 34 years He suffered a number of wounds in battle, the most severe losing an eye at Calvi in Corsica.
At the battle of Trafalgar the fleet of 27 ships defeated a French and Spanish force, however the victory came at a cost. Nelson himself was hit by a musket ball when the action was at its height. He was carried to the Orlop deck where he died three hours later.
HMS Victory can be seen at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth and is one of the oldest naval ships in the world.
It is a great day out and fun for children and grownups too. A great experience and great history.
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April – I am working Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th. I am away from Thursday 13th to Monday 17th, back in the shop on Thursday 20th April.
Away Friday 9th and Saturday 10th of June.
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