Sunday, March 20, 2005


A very British victory


The Advertiser
By Des Houghton
March 19, 2005

Actor Alex Naylor as Lord Nelson.

In July, one of the most famous British funerals of all time, the water-borne procession of Lord Horatio Nelson, will be re-enacted as Britons celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar victory.

More than 200 ships will take part in the event, which will be promoted as an international tourist affair.

The organisers plan to assemble the largest flotilla seen on the Thames in modern times, to accompany a replica of Nelson's coffin and funeral barge along its route from Greenwich to St Paul's Cathedral and Whitehall. The procession will be the centrepiece of SeaBritain 2005, a series of celebrations now under way across Britain in honour of Nelson's victory in 1805, which ended Napoleon's hopes of invading Britain. Horatio Nelson and Napoleon Bonaparte face off again in an exhibition which will be launched on July 7. Actor Alex Naylor has been commissioned to play Nelson. Model ships in the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich will be used to re-create the battle and the lead-up to it.

The exhibition of Nelson and Napoleon will examine how these charismatic and controversial men earned their reputations. The extravaganza, in English and French, will reveal their personal lives and political and military conditions in which they fought and died.

Nelson's love affair with Emma Hamilton and their daughter, Horatia, will be examined and descendants of Horatia and Napoleon will be in London for the launch.

The exhibition, which has been 10 years in the making, will include such treasures as the uniform in which Nelson was killed in 1805.

Also on show will be the lead shot which killed Nelson, his hand-drawn battle plan for the Battle of Trafalgar, the sword used to proclaim Napoleon emperor, the masthead from the French battleship L'Orient which exploded at the Battle of the Nile, letters from Nelson to his admirals and an autographed manuscript of Beethoven's Eroica symphony, which originally was intended to be dedicated to Napoleon. But it will be the re-creation of the grand funeral procession on the Thames on September 16 that is expected to draw the big crowds.

A flotilla will follow the route from Greenwich taken by the original procession on January 8, 1806.

Coincidentally, 2005 is the 40th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral, which imitated Nelson's with a similar river-borne procession along the same route.
At the head of the parade in September will be HMS Victory's cutter, The Jubilant, followed by hundreds of craft in a procession.

The Jubilant will act as a funeral barge and, instead of a coffin, will carry the New Trafalgar Dispatch, a document paying homage to the heroes of the original battle. Many of the SeaBritain events will be played out at England's Royal Navy town of Portsmouth, with its historical dockyard containing such treasures as Nelson's Victory and the Mary Rose, King Henry VIII's warship.

Tourists will be able to stand, as I did, on the spot on the quarterdeck of the Victory where Nelson was shot by a sniper.

The bullet entered near his left shoulder, travelled downward through his lung before lodging in his spine.

Knowing his death was close, Nelson ordered his officers to carry him below. He asked for his face to be covered with a handkerchief, saying he did not want his men to share his pain.

Before he bled to death he asked Captain Hardy to kiss him goodbye.

The death of the admiral, a national hero for previous victories over the French, was greeted with shock in Britain, where Robert Southey, the poet laureate, wrote: "Men started at the intelligence and turned pale as if they had heard of the death of a dear friend."

His body was taken back to Britain preserved in a barrel of brandy and lay in state for three days at Greenwich before the funeral, at which thousands lined the streets.

On the anniversary of Trafalgar – October 21 – the Royal Navy will play host to ships from more than 40 navies at Portsmouth. The Queen will attend a banquet in the stateroom adjoining Nelson's bedroom aboard the Victory. These rooms on the ship are now open to tourists.

Recently, tourist access also was afforded to the cavernous hold and gunpowder magazine of the Victory.

Also, travellers can now tour the restored hold of the ship which held food and stores for 850 crew.

The partial reconstruction of the magazine and hold took five years and followed painstaking research to ensure the warship was identical to her configuration before the historic battle.

Portsmouth will host an international Festival of the Sea (June 30 to July 3) bringing together sailors, musicians, artists, ships and boats from all over the globe.

The RN also will activate a database containing detailed and personal information on the 18,000 sailors who took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Other festivities include a yacht race around the Isle of Wight, competing for the inaugural Nelson Plate, and a musical celebration of the battle of Trafalgar in the Albert Hall.

The celebrations will end with a service of commemoration and thanksgiving at Great Yarmouth in Nelson's home county of Norfolk. It will honour those who fought and died at Trafalgar and be attended by their descendants.

Other highlights include the Liverpool Great River Race, a fish-slappers dance in London, Tall Ships in Newcastle, the Falmouth Oyster Festival and the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy.

Fine detail
LORD Nelson, impassive in wax, has his eyebrows plucked at the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth. It was recently found that Nelson had only half a brow above his right eye. So the museum acted to ensure that its life-size wax work of Britain's greatest fighting sailor is anatomically correct.

Nelson was injured several times in conflicts and lost the sight in his right eye when hit by shrapnel at the battle of Corsica in 1794. He was shot in the arm while leading a boarding party at Tenerife in 1797 and it was subsequently amputated.

For details of SeaBritain, see or phone 1300 858 5789.

Battle bells ring again
THE first church bells to ring out the victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and also toll for the death of Lord Nelson have just been repaired and re-hung in Madron Church near Penzance.

The first news of the British Navy's victory at Trafalgar was passed to fishermen in Mounts Bay as HMS Pickle made her way home from the battle. They took the message back to port and the news of Nelson's death and victory was announced from the Assembly Rooms in Penzance. From there the assembled crowd moved to the Mother Church of Penzance, the Church of St Maddern at Madron, where the bells were rung and the Nelson Banner, which was hastily prepared to mourn the death of the great admiral, was paraded at a memorial service.

The bells, two of which – numbers five and eight – date back to 1761, fell silent two years ago when the frames which support them were condemned as unsafe.

Immensely proud of the historic connection with Nelson and his famous victory, the bell ringers and parishioners raised the money to finance the costly removal, restoration and refitting of the eight bells.

The work took four months and the bells went into the refitted belltower earlier this month.


sempre cheio de artigos interessantes :)
bom domingo beijos
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