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Trafalgar Day marked with prayers at the tomb of Lord Nelson

The British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar and death of Lord Nelson have been remembered at a simple wreath laying around the tomb of the great naval leader.

Members of the Royal Navy, including the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral CCE Johnston CBE, gathered at St Paul's to mark the events of 21 October 1805.


During the ceremony, the words issued by Admiral Lord Collingwood from on board the frigate HMS Euryalus, the day after the victory against the French, were read out:

The almighty God whose arm is strength, having of his great mercy been pleased to crown the exertion of His Majesty’s Fleet with success in giving them a complete victory over their enemies on the 21st of this month; and that all praise and thanksgiving may be offered up to the throne of Grace for the great benefits of our country and mankind, I have thought proper that a day shall be appointed of general humiliation before God, and thanksgiving for his divine mercy and his constant aid to us in the defence of our country’s liberties and laws, without which the utmost efforts of man are nought, and direct therefore that a day shall be appointed for this holy purpose.

Also read aloud were the very words uttered as Nelson's coffin was lowered to its final resting place in the crypt of St Paul's on 9 January 1806:

Thus it hath pleased Almighty God to take out of this transitory life unto his divine mercy the most noble Lord, Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the county of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and Hilborough, in the same county, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet and Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s ships and vessels in the Mediterranean. Also, Duke of Bronte in Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim. And the hero who in the moment of victory fell covered with immortal glory. Let us humbly trust that he is now raised to bliss ineffable and to a glorious immortality.

Wreaths were laid at the tomb of Lord Nelson and also at that of Lord Collingwood, Nelson's second-in-command,  who was interred next to Nelson upon his death in 1810.