A celebration of naval history

David McKnight with HMS Trincomalee in the background
David McKnight with HMS Trincomalee in the background

A LANDMARK event in British naval history is set to be celebrated in style in Hartlepool.

The town will pay tribute to Lord Horatio Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar during two prestigious dinners this autumn.

And the public is invited to join in with the commemoration of a battle which confirmed Britain’s naval might.

Both will be held on board HMS Trincomalee at the Hartlepool’s Maritime Experience.

HMS Trincomalee Trust general manager David McKnight said: “This year, we have got a double celebration to mark the Victory at Trafalgar and the memory of the death of Lord Nelson.”

The Battle of Trafalgar was waged in October 1805 between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy.

It was the most decisive British victory of the Napoleonic Wars although Horatio Nelson was killed during the battle.

Hartlepool’s celebrations will include a Trafalgar night commemorative dinner on Saturday, October 20, at 6.15pm.

Mr McKnight described it as a “formal Royal Navy dinner, a black tie event”.

The guest of honour will be Commodore Jim Scorer, the director of operations of Trinity House lighthouse. The public is invited and tickets are available from the Trincomalee.

Anyone who buys them before Monday, September 10, will get them for a discounted price of £42.

After September 10, the cost will be £45. Tickets can also be obtained from http://trafalgarnight2012.eventbrite.com

While that event will be a formal affair, a “less formal” celebration of the victory will be held on an unconfirmed date in November, said Mr McKnight.

It is being described as a “pickle night” in honour of the ship HMS Pickle which was the first to return to England after the battle to bring news of a famous victory.

Mr McKnight said: “There will be a dinner for this event with live music and a bar, and there will be a speaker.

That honour falls to radio broadcaster Mark Thorburn who is also a maritime history enthusiast.

Mr McKnight said: “That event will be in November but the details are still being confirmed.”

He added: “Although the Trincomalee was built after the Battle of Trafalgar, it was built in response to Lord Nelson’s plea for more frigates.

“That frigate building programme, that the Admiralty commissioned, carried on long after his death. Trincomalee was one of the last in the line.”

Both of the Hartlepool events can accommodate 90 people and the Trincomalee can be contacted on (01429) 223193.