Friday, October 21, 2005


The 21st of October is my birthday and for that reason I believe it should be a public holiday. It is also Trafalgar Day and for that reason many people believe it should be a public holiday. I understand that the reason Trafalgar Day is NOT a public holiday is that we may upset our continental cousins (and many more would argue that is sufficient reason itself for making it a public holiday ;-) ).
Joking aside, today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Horatio Nelson (1805). Birmingham has many associations with this historical battle. Buckles and buttons for the uniforms were made here, as were the medals issued to the seamen. Many Birmingham men served at Trafalgar and one ship was captained by a West Bromwich man. And today Birmingham remembered.

The Royal Navy Reserves from HMS Forward on parade in front of the statue of Nelson.

The veterans.


Present Arms!

The verger Liz Harris leads in the civic party comprising The Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress, the Reverend Tom Pyke, Commodore van Beek and Commander Davies, commanding officer of HMS Forward.

A proud moment for HMS Forward.

The mayor finishes inspecting the Reserves.

The Lord Mayor Coun John Hood lays a wreath......

... and stands back to pay his respects.

Commodore van Beek lays a wreath on behalf of the Royal Navy.

A wreath on behalf of the West Midlands Fire Service is followed by wreaths from the West Midlands Ambulance Service and the West Midlands Police.

Mr Bernard Patterson MBE lays a wreath on behalf of The Midlands Branch of the Maritime Society and Sea Cadets.

Wreaths from Linda Bateman on behalf of the Guiding Association and from a representative for the Boys Brigade.

The wreath from the Boys Brigade is laid, while Mrs Marion Simms, County Secretary of the Scouting Association, stands back in silence.

Eileen Skidmore, Regional Secretary of The Nelson Society and Dr Freddie Gick, Chairman of The Birmingham Civic Society bring forward wreaths on behalf of their respective societies.


In the centre members of the West Midlands Ambulance Service stand to attention. On the left, a member of the West Midlands Fire Service in ceremonial uniform, on the right the West Midlands Police.


One minute's silence.

The Sea Cadet Band of TS Sutton Coldfield leads off on a march along New Street to Victoria Square.....

...shortly followed by the HMS Forward Reserves.

The wreaths below the statue.

Wreaths shown here are from l-r rear: Midlands Branch of the Maritime Society and Sea Cadets, West Midlands Ambulance Service, West Midlands Fire Service, the Royal Navy, Royal Navy Reserves. Front: Royal Society of St George, Birmingham St George's Day Association, The Birmingham Civic Society.

Wreaths shown here include those from the West Midlands Police, the Nautical Club Birmingham, and the Nelson Society.

In front of the Council House.

The Lord Mayor takes the salute.

The Reserves of HMS Forward march past the Council House...

...and away, sunlight glittering on medals.

The TS Sutton Coldfield Sea Cadet Band.

The veterans.

The side of the town-hall has been temporarily reformed for the occasion.

England expects that ev'ry man This day will do his duty.

This panel displays the names of Birmingham-born men who served at Trafalgar.

Carl Chinn chats with Russ Thacker, Liaison Officer of the National Service Veterans Association.

Under Birmingham's moody skies, the statue of Nelson gazes past St Martin's Church towards Cape Trafalgar... deep contemplation.