Crossing the T:
At around midday, off Cape Trafalgar, Nelson’s fleet formed into two columns. One was led by Nelson in HMS Victory, the other by Collingwood, in HMS Royal Sovereign. They sailed towards a single line of 33 French and Spanish ships in which nearly 30,000 men served. Nelson was intent on concentrating his attack by breaking the enemy line at strategic points, a tactic which would surprise the enemy and causing what he referred to as a ‘pell-mell battle’. This would favour the superior gunnery and seamanship of the British fleet. The tactic was dangerous as the leading ships of the two British divisions were raked head-on with enemy gunfire from about noon without being able to return fire until they closed on the enemy line, as HMS Victory did at about 12:30. Nelson had previously agreed with his officers that if anything should go wrong with his plan and ‘in case signals can neither be seen or perfectly understood, no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy’. Just after one o’clock sharpshooters aboard the Redoubtable, captained by Jean-Jacques-Etienne Lucas. The best trained sharpshooters in the French fleet sprayed Victory’s quarter deck with fire and Nelson fell shot in the chest. Nelson held on to hear the news that the battle had been won and said “Thank God I have done my duty” and passed away into legend.
The British Business Club remembers Trafalgar each year and as in many locations around the world meet for the Trafalgar Dinner and Ball. At this years event a hand made model of H.M.S. Victory crafted on the Island of Mauritius was presented by Officescape to auction and to raise funds for the British Business Club’s charity The Taganka Children’s Fund. All the proceeds from the dinner go to the Taganka Children’s Fund, a worthy cause indeed. To find out more about the British Business Club and its activities, please view the website: www.britishclub.ru
* John Roche, Administration Department, Officescape International
A group of worthy sailors with Sue Brenton