Battle of Trafalgar
Despite the challenges presented by COVID, the 215th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar was acknowledged in a slightly different way. This meant that although no crowd gathered, dignitaries were still able to mark their respects for one of British naval history’s most important battles.
His Excellency the Governor Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL led the ceremony by placing a wreath at the foot of Admiral Lord Nelson’s statue. Concurrently Commander Nick Baker Royal Navy, Commanding Officer Royal Navy and Lieutenant Commander Lloyd Cardy Royal Navy, Commanding Officer Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron laid wreaths on the graves of those who died here in Gibraltar as a result of wounds sustained during the Battle. His Excellency read the dispatch from Admiral Collingwood to the Lieutenant Governor of Gibraltar:
“Yesterday a Battle was fought by His Majesty’s Fleet, and a Victory gained, which will stand recorded as one of the most brilliant and decisive, that ever distinguished the British Navy… Our loss has been great in Men; but what is irreparable, and the cause of Universal Lamentation, is the death of the Noble Commander-in-Chief who died in the arms of Victory; I have not yet any reports from the ships …”
This was followed by the preamble which was read by the Honourable Fabian Picardo QC MP MA, Chief Minister and reminded everyone that “for over two centuries the Fleets of the Royal Navy have gathered at Gibraltar for exercise and training in time of Peace. Here in time of War, the ships have assembled before sailing to face the dangers of the seas and the violence of the enemy.”
This year’s Trafalgar address was delivered by Commodore Steve Dainton CBE Royal Navy, Commander British Forces who remarked on the proximity of Gibraltar to the cape of Trafalgar (70 miles). He said, “Notwithstanding the impact of COVID, at this time each year in Royal Navy warships and establishments around the world, people will be recalling the Battle of Trafalgar, remembering the sailors that fell and especially Admiral Horatio Nelson who delivered the most brilliant and decisive victory that ever distinguished the British Navy.
The battle was strategically important as it denied Napoleon the opportunity to launch his invasion of Britain and prepared the ground for his final defeat at Waterloo some 10 years later. It also laid the foundations for a century of dominance of British sea power and heralded the start of the age of the British Empire.
We look to our history to inspire us – our forebears remind us of our duty and the highest standards that must be achieved. That is why, every year, we come together to remember the Battle of Trafalgar – to remember the bravery and sacrifice of men from both sides of the battle – to remember the 58 nations that fought in the Fleets including nine Gibraltarians in the British Fleet – to remember Admiral Lord Nelson who died knowing he had won a remarkable and historic victory and thanking God that he had done his duty.”
The Royal Gibraltar Regiment has recognised the end of service for nine individuals, both military and civilian, whose careers with the RG have come to an end. Thank you for your loyalty and service.
- Major Valverde
- Warrant Officer 2 Thorne
- Sergeant Rodriguez
- Corporal Lippingwell
- Captain Castrey
- Warrant Officer 2 Wood
- Corporal Caballero
- Corporal Nicholls
It has been a busy few weeks at British Forces Gibraltar with numerous high-level officials visiting the Rock.
Minister for the Armed Forces, Mr James Heappey MP, was the first visitor to arrive. A very brief visit which mainly involved meetings with Commodore Steve Dainton, Commander British Forces Gibraltar, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel KBE DL, His Excellency the Governor of Gibraltar and the Honourable Fabian Picardo QC MP, Chief Minister Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar.
This was followed by General Sir Patrick Sanders KCB CBE DSO ADC, Commander UK Strategic Command, and Mrs Alison Stevenson, Director Overseas Bases.
Further to this, Lieutenant General Robert Magowan CB CBE, Deputy Commander UK Strategic Command was also in Gibraltar. Both visits included tours of a number of MOD sites, meetings with civilian and Service personnel as well as calls on key figures in the wider Gibraltar community.