Photographer's Note

LORD NELSONS FLAGSHIP

I had to reach deep into my archives for this ancient slide, shot in early 1973. The HMS Victory is the world's oldest continually commissioned ship, and certainly the British Navy's most famous warship. Built between 1759-1765, the Victory served as the flagship of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelsons fleet, leading a group of 27 British ships against a much larger combined Franco/Spanish fleet at the Battle off Cape Trafalgar in 1805. The British won the battle decisively! But Lord Nelson, while pacing the quarterdeck with his captain, was mortally wounded by an enemy sharp shooters musket. History records that he survived just long enough to learn the outcome of the battle. But then his body had to be taken all the way from the the area of Toulon on the French Riviera back to England. Accordingly, they pickled it in a barrel of brandy, and returned to England to hold a state funeral for England's most famous naval hero. Trekearth members who know London know the high column at Trafalgar Square, atop which Nelson's statue now stands.

Sitting in a dry dock in Portsmouth in southern England, the beautifully preserved ship is open to visitors who can view the once overcrowded decks where hundreds of men lived, worked and perished, the cabin where the battle was planned, and indeed the spot where Lord Nelson died.

The Victory's elaborate figurehead featured prominently in this photograph include a pair of cupids supporting the royal coat of arms, which is, in turn, topped with the royal crown. The motto on the crest bears the inscription in Latin, Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense, (Shame to him who evil thinks). I am dedicating this photograph to Steve Branley, who served for 19-years in the Royal Navy, and is now engaged in rescuing lives from helicopters in the North Sea. (His recent photo is one of the most dramatic in all of TE.)

The ship's specs include Material: weathered oak; Gun-deck length: 56.7 meters (186 feet); overall length: 69.2 meters (227 feet); Width at the beam 15.8 meters (51 feet-10 inches); Draft: 8.8 meters (28 feet 9 inches); Gross weight: 2,162 tons; Number of guns: 104; Number of crew: 850; Speed 8 to 9 knots.

Nikon F mounted with a 50-mm fixed focal length f/1.4 lens. Kodachrome-25 slide film, recently scanned.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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  • Date Taken: 1973-01-00
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  • Camera: Nikon F
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  • Date Submitted: 2008-05-08 21:13
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