Marking the Battle of Trafalgar - Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Royal Armouries marks Lord Nelson’s famous victory at the Battle of Trafalgar on Sunday (October 23) with the firing of a 206-year-old gun, of the kind used on board HMS Victory in 1805.

A uniformed crew of sailors will fire the restored 12-pounder gun at Fort Nelson, near Fareham, at 12 noon and 3pm to mark Trafalgar Day, which actually falls on Friday (October 21).

Fort Nelson – home to the national collection of artillery and cannon – will ring to the sound of the original 1805-dated muzzle-loading, sea service cannon, used commonly on Royal Naval ships at Trafalgar, including HMS Victory.

Head of Royal Armouries South, Sean Mannie said, “The crew will wear uniform dating to the period – 1805 – and the gun firings promise to be quite a spectacle. This year we are marking the anniversary on the Sunday, as that’s traditionally a busy day for us and allows the maximum number of visitors to see the gun firings.”

Horatio, Lord Nelson, has held a special place in local people’s hearts for over 200 years – and his monument stands proudly on Portsdown Hill, next to the Royal Armouries Museum at Fort Nelson. The monument was paid for by the men of the fleet who fought at Trafalgar and from prize money.

Nelson masterminded the defeat of the French and Spanish from his ship HMS Victory, now docked at nearby Portsmouth. The battle cost him his life, as he died onboard after being hit by a French sniper’s bullet. The victory at Trafalgar meant that Britain was safe from invasion and was the world’s strongest naval power for many years.

Museum admission and the gun firings are free.

Fort Nelson has recently undergone a £3.5 restoration, supported by a grant of over £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

As well as gun firings, visitors can explore the 19-acre Victorian fort and see the new galleries and visitor centre, including Café 1871. One of the highlights is the Voice of the Guns Gallery – showcasing 14 of the Royal Armouries’ most famous exhibits, including two sections of the Iraqi Supergun and the Turkish Bombard, dating to 1464.

For more details about the Royal Armouries and the national collection housed at Fort Nelson, visit:
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Joss Loader
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Notes to editors