- Hinchliffe, L.M.
- 19th century wars
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- March 1990 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
The Right Honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson, K.B. and Duke of Bronte Vice Admiral of the White Squadron and The Battle of Trafalgar, 2nd October, 1805 I first studied the battle in 1933 and have read many accounts of it since that time. I have also attended many luncheons and dinners in memory of the battle and Nelson. But I cannot remember seeing or hearing on what day of the week the battle was fought. So when I was asked the question at the Trafalgar Day luncheon last year I was floored.
I decided to see what my library could turn up but to no avail. However, the Naval Chronicle of 1805 cleared the matter up. The day was Monday. It appeared in Vice Admiral C. Collingwood’s first despatch to the Admiralty regarding the action and was written on 22nd October 1805 and sent to England in the frigate EURYALUS. But whilst looking this information out I remembered that always the toast at luncheons and dinners has been “the immortal Nelson” and I wondered how long ago this phrase was first used.
The Naval Chronicle was consulted again and Vice Admiral Collingwood in the abovementioned despatches said, inter alia, “I can only lament… in the fall of the Commander-in-Chief, the loss of a hero, whose name will be immortal…”
This despatch was published on 6th November.
However in a letter to the editor of the Naval Chronicle dated 12 November 1805, the phrase is used as we know it today “the immortal Nelson”. The letter inter alia states “…. Captain Hardy, who was the immortal Nelson’s Captain…”. This could well be the first occasion on which it was used.