Trafalgar, 1805

This is an oddity, perhaps, but I recently rediscovered the notes and display material I made for a display and diorama I arranged in 2005 for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. I put together a host of display materials and arranged with some friends to have some 1:1200 models of the ships involved placed on a large, seascaped table to illustrate the centre of the battle – the main part of the British columns and the centre of the French and Spanish lines. I no longer have any photos of the final layout (rats!) but have the main display materials.

I have found, however, the source files for most of the display material, some of which is shown below.
It is a period I find fascinating, both incredibly inspiring and immensely saddening due to the immense hardships endured by those serving on the often claustrophibic ships. The skills required were immense, whether to sail the ships, repair them whilst at sea, navigate and, finally, to fight with the constant threat of losing a limb or suffering infection from wounds caused by splinters (the disquieting battle scenes on the film Master and Commander I suspect are reasonably representative).

An interesting aspect of the battle was that both the French and British claimed victory: the former because the dreaded Nelson was killed and the latter because so many opposing ships were destroyed or captured. Sadly, however, the reality was that there was a great loss of life on both sides and the storms that broke afterwards did not help in the rescue and retrieval of damaged ships.

PDF of the Trafalgar Handout From 2005

Seamanship_Guns Seamanship_Points

Diagram of the Fleets at Trafalgar, 1805

Diagram of the Fleets at Trafalgar, 1805

Material came from numerous sources, in particular reprints of the Naval Chronicles of the period. Other books which were useful and on display were: ‘The Campaign of Trafalgar’ by Robert Gardiner (Ed.), ‘Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail: War at Sea 1756-1815’ by Bernard Ireland, and ‘The Line of Battle’ by Robert Gardiner (Ed.).

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