Saturday, October 21, 2006

Trafalgar Day - 21 Oct 1805

What better day to read the final pages of Pockock's book, Trafalgar, than today - the 201st anniversay of that awful battle.
As the majority of his story is made up of letters written on board the British, French and Spanish ships immediatley prior to, or after the battle, the words are poignant - the descriptions of carnage of both men and vessel - unbelieveable.
Likewise, Nelson's last few hours spent below deck are reported in such a way one feels as though one is present at his passing.
And following the French defeat, Pockock writes of the gales which lashed the fleets for several few days, sinking many of the prizes and robbing the seaman of their hard earned rewards.
Ironically hundreds of those seamen and marines, who survived that most horrendous sea battle, died at the hands of the hurricane-force storm, uncerimoniuosly joining their mates in the deep.
I now wish I had read the book before visiting Victory this year.
I must go back one day.
Photo (M Muir): The Royal barge of Charles 11 (built 1670) carried Nelson's coffin along the River Thames. (Royal Navel dockyard museum, Portmouth)

2 comments:

agamemnon said...

HI Margaret, just to say I have enjoyed your pages. Have done some tall ship sailing myself, on Lord Nelson (of course) and had a wonderful time. I do agree, Pocock's book is wonderful but recommend you also to CS Forester who writes beautiful economic prose. Oh and don't forget John Sugden, a masterpiece of research.
Janis

Margaret Muir said...

Hi Janis
Thanks for you comment and recommendations.
It's always nice to meet a like-minded person who can share a passion.
Just wish I had got to this stageof interest 40 years ago.
Never mind - better late than never!
Marg