Trafalgar Day gun marks anniversary at Fort Nelson - Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Trafalgar Day – marking one of Britain’s greatest Naval victories – will be commemorated at Fort Nelson later this month with the firing of a 204-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 the Royal Armouries fort near Fareham, on Sunday 18 October, as part of a two-day event to mark the great battle.

Trafalgar Day itself will be marked on Wednesday 21 October, when the gun will be fired again by Royal Armouries staff.

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.

As well as the gun firings at 12 noon and 3pm on both days, the Royal Armouries’ team of resident actors will stage live performances, including an ‘eye-witness account’ recalling events during Nelson’s last hours.

The 204th anniversary of the great battle has special significance for Fort Nelson, which sits high on Portsdown Hill overlooking Portsmouth Harbour.

Fort Operations Manager Mark Selwood said: ‘We enjoy marking the event as there are links between the Fort and Lord Nelson as the fort was built to protect against possible invasion from the French and is named after him. The carriage of the gun we fire is painted in the colours of HMS Victory and is the type of artillery used on the top gun deck of the ship, so it is very possible that it saw some action at Trafalgar. The battle saw Nelson spectacularly defeat the French and Spanish navies, removing the threat of possible invasion of Britain – so we have much to be thankful for.’

Museum entry is free and there is a whole range of attractions throughout the day, designed to appeal to young and old alike.

...ENDS...

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