Horatio Nelson's flag signal at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805
At about 11.30 hrs in the morning of Monday 21 October 1805, as the British fleet was sailing into action against the Combined Fleets of France and Spain at the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson ordered a special signal to be flown: 'England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty'. Although the most famous signal in naval history, it has often been misquoted.
Other navies have used their own versions of the famous words. Napoleon was so impressed that he ordered a translation: 'La France compte que chaqun fera son devoir', to be displayed in all the ships of the Imperial Navy. The great Japanese admiral Count Heihachiro Togo signalled at the start of the Battle of Tsushima against the Russian fleet on 27 May 1904: 'The fate of the Empire depends upon today's battle: let every man do his utmost!' Nelson's signal is still flown by HMS 'Victory' every Trafalgar Day.
- Image reference: D8080
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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