Thursday, June 16, 2005


Britain flags up Trafalgar bicentenary spectacular


Yahoo News
June 14, 2005

This picture courtesy of Bonham's Auction House shows a letter written by Horatio Nelson 05 October, 1805, on the eve of battle at Trafalgar. In the letter, which was to be auctioned 05 July, 2005, Nelson writes to Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty, vowing to 'annihilate' the enemy fleet.
(AFP/Bonhams )

LONDON - Officials unveiled plans for spectacular celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar, where Admiral Horatio Nelson's fleet routed the French and Spanish navies.

A six-day series of commemorations is planned for Portsmouth, home of the British Royal Navy on the south coast of England, starting on June 28 with a huge flotilla of vessels gathering in The Solent before a state-of-the-art recreation of a Nelson-era battle using tallships.

Queen Elizabeth II will review the British fleet for the first time since 1978 and thousands of ships from countries as far afield as Australia and Japan will take part.

The tallships show, however, billed as "theatre on water" will not be a recreation of Nelson's triumph. Instead, teams dubbed "blue" and "red" will recreate "vignettes" from the scenes of October 21, 1805.

Newspaper reports had said that a re-enactment had been side-stepped to avoid offending the defeated nations.

"There are sensitivities, but it's not stopped the French and Spanish sending their biggest ships, with an escort and a submarine each, which we're delighted about," Captain Steve Bramley, Royal Navy director of marketing and publicity, told AFP.

"We haven't got that that number of ships (to fully recreate Trafalgar). The real battle was well over 70 ships. There's not the sea room and there's no way that we could recreate the conditions," he said.

The battle terminates with a blaze of lights, smoke, cannon and fireworks to represent the great storm that both sides had to contend with after the original fight.

"We're using over twice the amount of weight of pyrotechnics used at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The amount of fireworks, we could never, ever afford to do it more than once. We can't even rehearse it," Bramley said.


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