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  1. #1001
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    Taking a pause from the battle, we took a look around Captain Thomas Hardy's quarters, aft of the Quarterdeck.

    This was his day room.



    And the captain's cabin.

    His 'sea chest' would have contained all of his personal belongings, plus uniforms, etc much like my holdall when I go to work offshore. Everything was kept contained because as soon as 'Battle Stations' was announced, the captains cabin became as much a part of the the fighting ship as any other part of the gun decks. Everything was cleared for battle and the cannons manned. I think this cannon would have been called the 'stern chaser', a smaller caliber but with longer range than the cannons used for the broadsides.



    A view out of the captain's cabin stern windows. Today we see a modern day aircraft carrier... which couldn't have even been dreamt about in 1805 when Thomas Hardy looked out at the French and Spanish fleet at Trafalgar.



    The captain's cot. Not bad lodgings at all.



    And even beneath the captain's cot there was a cannon waiting to be used in battle.


  2. #1002
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    Fantastic read this thread. Well done

  3. #1003
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    Indeed. Enjoyed that last write up

    A great storyteller and he would sound just like a pirate with that West Country accent, I'd imagine.

    Arrrrrr

    Out of interest, where was the peg on the Victory?

  4. #1004
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    Thanks Mendip! I started Master and Commander a while back, but they didn't really grab me the same way as the Hornblower novels did. Maybe I'll give them another try.

    Excellent tour, thanks! I toured the USS Constitution, America's version of the oldest active duty ship and found it much smaller than the Victory.
    "I was a good student. I comprehend very well, OK, better than I think almost anybody," - President Trump comparing his legal knowledge to a Federal judge.

  5. #1005
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    ^^ I'm no expert, but I reckon it may be halfway up Ronaldo's areshole?


    But anyway, after the Quarterdeck we walked for'ard towards the bows. These brackets would have housed the Victory's boats... which were missing, I guess due to the ongoing restoration works. (looking aft).



    This is probably a good time to show another pic of the fighting on the Victory's upper deck to give some context (looking for'ard). It was really a strange feeling to be standing on exactly the same place as these events occurred, although many hundreds of miles distant. I just love history.



    The HMS Victory's bows, upper gun deck. Unfortunately littered with landlubber tourists. My daughter is more of a scholar. I would love a solo guided tour of the Victory with a knowledgeable guide... no tourists, no nothing. I'd pay good money for that.



    The heads. This is where you did your business... jump down and let the gushing water do the cleaning. The original bum gun.



    A look back aft along the upper gun deck, from the bows, with a lot of scaffolding. The ship's bell in view, which controlled all shifts and was a constant presence. A fascinating topic all on it's own... but for elsewhere...

    Ship's bell - Wikipedia

    Up at he bows were these two cots/hammocks... a lot better than the ship's sailors hammocks so I'd imagine for un-commissioned officers, maybe... of course these would immediately disappear as soon as General Quarters was announced.



    The cat o' nine tails... flogging was a huge part of Naval discipline but used at the captain's discretion. The bosun was usually charged with administering punishment. No need to let these 'cats out of the bag' as they're already hanging on display.



    And he down to the middle gun deck... this was where the business really happened.


  6. #1006
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    Throbbing climax to the prematurely crowned TOTY (no poll required)

    Epic and edumacational stuff to boot



    Quote Originally Posted by Topper View Post
    I started Master and Commander a while back, but they didn't really grab me the same way as the Hornblower novels did.
    I did not even know it was a book. This is the thread that keeps on giving.

    I have dug out the movie and loaded it in the projector's brass monkey.

  7. #1007
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    and it was all down to Nelson's battle strategy. He was a master strategist.
    Nelson insisted on wearing his fine Admiral's uniform which made him an obvious target as he paced the Quarterdeck

    perhaps not so master strategist…

  8. #1008
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    ^ Nelson liked to lead by example... he lost his right arm leading a small boat action in Teneriffe and his right eye doing similar in Corsica. Incidentally, he was back at work half an hour after having his right arm amputated... those guys were built of strong stuff.

    Looking above I got a bit mixed up with the photos and the decks. The ship's boats should have been on the Foc'sle, which along with the Quaterdeck made up the top deck. And the photo I meant to show (but didn't) of the ship's bell was looking back along the top deck from the Foc'sle, aft, towards the Quarterdeck, ship's wheel and stern. I blame getting pissed up on duty free whisky last night.

    Anyway, the ship's bell. There were few cannon on the top deck, mainly I guess due to lack of space and stability reasons. I think it tended to be the shorter carronades installed on the top deck which were often loaded with grape shot to clear enemy top decks and rigging of men during close quarter action. Anyway, the picture below of the ship's bell shows how small the Victory was... at 69 metres long it would fit on the back deck of some of the vessels I work on now, and whereas my work vessels will maybe have a POB of 70 or 80, the Victory carried 850 men. She must have been very cramped.



    The last three pics above are of the upper gun deck (or main deck), one deck below the top deck. The Victory has three gun decks; upper, middle and lower.



    Some armaments of the day which would have been handed out for close quarter action... boarding an enemy ship or defending yours if boarded by the enemy. Cutlasses and pistols.



    The bosun's tool kit. The gun decks are dominated by cannon. The upper gun deck carried 24 pounders (24lb shot). Each was crewed by six men... you can only imagine how cramped, noisy and smoky the gun decks were during repeated broadsides.



    More armaments... pikes, cutlasses, pistols and grappling hooks. During battle an enemy ship could be grappled and then lashed alongside before having the absolute fuk blasted out of it by repeated broadsides before boarding.



    A gunners view through the gun port. The bucket was for gun powder. The rope around the back of the cannon was to limit the recoil.



    Tools of the trade... a swab, ram and scraper (I think). After each shot the cannon was swabbed out with water to prevent ignition of the new powder, and once the powder charge was added, a shot was rammed home. The Victory gun crews could reload in 90 seconds, far quicker than their French or Spanish counterparts and one reason for the British naval domination through Napoleonic times. Those cannon weigh 3.5 tonnes and had to be man-handled back and forth between each shot. Tough men.



    At the aft end of the upper gun deck as the Admiral's cabin... in the case of the HMS Victory at Trafalgar, Nelson's cabin, of course.

    Nelson's day room... and fleet's conference room. On the evening of 20th October 1805, the day before the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson sat around this very same table and told the captain's of the British fleet the battle strategy.



    I was there last year!



    And through to Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson's cabin at the stern of the upper gun deck, one deck below Captain Thomas Hardy's cabin.



    Nelson's leather armchair... those indentations were probably made by the man himself!



    Another view of the cabin, across to the port side where there was an open door...



    Yes, this was where the great man cut off a length in the morning. Even Nelson had to take a dump. What a view he had!



    And on the starboard side, Nelson's cot.



    Sandwiched between two cannon. Nothing was sacred... even the Rear Admiral of the Fleet's cot would be removed during action.

    A picture of Lady Emma Hamilton on the wall. My daughter's middle name is also Emma!



    And then down to the middle gun deck. More 24 pounders lining both sides.



    Muskets and bayonets... for the marines I think.



    The galley.



    The galley is on the right of the picture here. The British navy fed their men well. Scurvy was almost unheard of in Nelson's navy due to giving the men lime juice every day (hence Limeys) and when at sea the men received three good meals a day. The food was a selling point to men joining the navy and life expectancy for sailors (excepting losses in battle) was longer than the national average due to the good diet and good medical care.



    The last hot meal for one gun crew before the Battle of Trafalgar.



    And typical sleeping arrangements for the men. Each man was allotted 14 inches in which to hang his hammock. Every space on a naval warship had to be utilised.



    And on down to the very cramped lower gun deck. This deck was lined with 32 pounders... the larger cannon kept low for stability reasons. One of the biggest risks during battle was flying wood splinters due to cannon ball strikes. he lower gun deck was one of the safer areas during a battle and only two gunners were killed on the Victory's lower gun deck during the Battle of Trafalgar.







    Rope stored at the bow of the lower gun deck... for mooring up when alongside.



    My foot for scale!



    A few stats...



    And then down to the Orlop deck, below the waterline.

    Last edited by Mendip; 17-08-2022 at 08:52 PM.

  9. #1009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Incidentally, he was back at work half an hour after having his right arm amputated...
    So they'd do anything to avoid an LTI even back then 'aye?

    Hard to describe just how good your pics and descriptions are, having never set foot on such a vessel before I find it extremely interesting.

  10. #1010
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    Outstanding ol' chap.


    I want to both go there, and have a scale model.

    The same as yours.



    So, yeah, umm, what date did you say you'll be gone 'til?

  11. #1011
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    Can only imagine what it was like aboard over 200 years ago.
    Cool pics and commentary.
    Glad to see you've got some practical footwear at last.

  12. #1012
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    Excellent post, really do enjoy your explanations.

  13. #1013
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    Can almost go back in time with those pics and imagine what it was like in an Atlantic squall. I imagine it was quite dank and wet inside on those lower decks.

    This is another "famous" thread worthy of being pinned. Also, I would say Mendy is once again leading contender for TD poster of the year!

  14. #1014
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    ^ There are a lot of omissions... just too much going on to mention everything and I'm sure I've made errors as well. Hopefully it gives a 'feel' for life in Nelson's navy and there's a wealth of information out there for anyone who's interested.

    Anyway, I need to press on and get this thread wrapped up because I start work soon and have to squeeze in a trip to Bangkok early next week to attend to a medical issue.


    The steps at the aft end of the ship down to the Orlop deck led straight to the cockpit, where the ship's surgeon worked during battle. His tools of the trade...



    There was of course no anaesthesia in Nelson's time, or anti-biotics to prevent infection if you survived the surgery. I would guess that sterilisation of tools between different patients during a busy battle didn't happen either. The only comfort patients received was a wad of leather to bite down on during the procedures... you can only guess at the horrors that could have been witnessed in the cockpit.



    Being below the waterline, the Orlop deck was dark and gloomy with the only light coming from lanterns and some natural light that filtered down through stairwells. Nelson was brought down to the Orlop deck and placed around the corner on the port side from the cockpit after being hit by the French musket ball. There was nothing the surgeon could do. Apparently a Midshipman gave up his bedding for the great man to lie on.

    This lantern and wreath carved into the bulwark marks the place of Nelsons death.



    Nelson's last words are said to have been, 'Thank God I have done my duty', before he died at 4:30pm while the battle still raged on above. Nelson died in the comfort that the Battle of Trafalgar was assured to be a British victory by this point, entirely due to Nelson's bold tactics.



    The Battle of Trafalgar was claimed a victory at 5pm on 21st October 1805. This established British naval supremacy for a hundred years and shattered Napoleon's plans to invade Britain by sea. The French and Spanish fleet lost nineteen ships while the British lost none, although 1500 British seamen were lost or wounded.




    Anyway, from Nelson's deathbed we continued along the port side of the cramped Orlop deck, past the bosun's and carpenter's stores.



    And even down here sailors were expected to sleep. It must have been hell during the hot Mediterranean summers.



    I think these slightly lavish and roomy hammocks wold have belonged to the bosun, ship's carpenter and the like.



    At the bows there was access down to the hold... used for storage of food, water, munitions etc to provide ballast for the ship.



    There was also a lot of rock ballast. I wanted to get a few pieces of 'HMS Victory ballast' for my rock collection but there was just no way of reaching any.



    And that was it for the interior of the HMS Victory. I could of course have spent the entire day there, and more, but we had a ten and eleven year-old to keep entertained and after three hours they were at their limit. Before we left however, we visited a small shop at the for'ard end of the Orlop deck where I bought some Nelson memorabilia including an HMS Victory pint glass and a ship's log. For some reason the daughter went for a cuddly ship's rat... as I've mentioned before, my wife runs string in her!

    We took a brief walk beneath the dry-docked Victory to inspect her timbers.



    The mighty rudder operated by the ship's wheel up on the Quarterdeck. The green colour comes from copper sheathing.



    I did mange to get a small chunk of Portsmouth No. 2 Dry Dock (where the Victory is housed) for my rock collection, which was better than nothing. I used the old 'pretending to tie my shoelaces' trick and reached through the barrier fence.

    You can see he Victory's keel in this pic. It should be straight but over 200 years have taken their toll on the elm timbers. The majority of the ship is made from oak.



    And then back outside where the mystery of the missing ship's boats from the Victory's foc'sle was solved.



    And the mighty figurehead of the great man himself!



    I was lost in my thoughts for some time and when I came to I realised that my daughter had gone missing.

    I looked around and discovered that my daughter was showing Henry VIII her rat... and although that may seem like a bold claim it is perfectly true!



    Henry was doing talks in the Mary Rose Museum and must have come out for a breather. I've decided not to go on about the Mary Rose as well because fascinating as her story is, my knowledge is limited and I can't do it justice in this thread.

    And only one way to celebrate really...



    Well... two ways of course.



    Gammon, egg and chips with peas! Plus the kids salad and veggies.



    What a day!


  15. #1015
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  16. #1016
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    What a day indeed. Three hours? Holy heck, I like a good old museum ship but that would be stretching the friendship. Amazing that the kids lasted that long!

    You’ve mentioned Nelson’s bold tactics won the day once or twice here. I know I could google or read a book, but I’m interested in your précis of his battle plan.


    and have to squeeze in a trip to Bangkok early next week to attend to a medical issue.
    PS: epididymal hypertension is not normally considered a medical emergency…
    Last edited by DrWilly; 18-08-2022 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Thanks HW for the correct terminology

  17. #1017
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    Fantastic, cheers.

    Storing and serving 3 meals a day to 850 men must have been a task in itself. Will have to research that later.

  18. #1018
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    There was also a lot of rock ballast.
    Good God can you even begin to imagine how ships of that era with round hulls would have been in 5+ meter beam-on seas, ballast or not! I'll bet even the hardiest of seamen wouldn't have been able to keep food down, and who knows how they could have moved around the ship without getting thrown to the ground or crashing into walls every second step. The creaking noises must have been like the Chinese water torture too, those guys definitely earned their pay just being on-board never mind trying to fight a war at the same time!

    Good luck with the epididymal hypertension treatment in Bangkok mate, a terrible condition to endure but treatment is available.

  19. #1019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond View Post
    11:37


    Mendo's fascination and respect is now understood.

  20. #1020
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWilly View Post
    PS: epididymal hypertension is not normally considered a medical emergency…
    Quote Originally Posted by Headworx View Post
    Good luck with the epididymal hypertension treatment in Bangkok mate, a terrible condition to endure but treatment is available.
    I had to Google that... Blue Balls, FFS...

    Is it too much to ask to get a little respect on this forum?

    In fact I try and go once a year to see a doctor in Bumrungrad to get checked for skin cancers. I try and do this regularly since getting one cut out a few years ago but am long overdue due to Covid.

    Is it my fault that they stuck Bumrungrad right at the bottom of Sukhumvit?


    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond View Post
    11:37
    Mendo's fascination and respect is now understood.
    More FFS...

  21. #1021
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Is it my fault that they stuck Bumrungrad right at the bottom of Sukhumvit?
    No, and that little fist-pump you do behind the chook run every time some reason to go there stay in the area for a night or two shows your disappointment


    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    Is it too much to ask to get a little respect on this forum?
    Not really, but then you wouldn't laugh your arse off while writing, reading, and replying to the craic, so what fun would that be?

  22. #1022
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    90 seconds to fire, clean, reload, pump and fire again is amazing Mendy


    The same as the cannons on the ship.

  23. #1023
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    ^ Thanks Ed, but to be fair I've had years of practice.

  24. #1024
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    90 seconds? So what do you do with the rest of the 3 days on a passport run?

  25. #1025
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    He continues on pumping his canon like one of Horatio's artillery men albeit with ladyfellas held down in a Full Nelson.

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