What is Trafalgar Day and how is it celebrated?

TRAFALGAR Day celebrates the victory of Britain’s Royal Navy over Spain and France at the Battle of Trafalgar over 200 years ago.

Each year hundreds gather to watch the armed forces and celebrate this historic victory.

When is Trafalgar Day?

Trafalgar Day is every year on October 21, the day of the battle of Trafalgar.

While celebrations take place across the country, the main event is in the capital with the Trafalgar Day Parade taking place in London.

A ceremony also takes place in Portsmouth, onboard the warship HMS Victory, Lord Horatio Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The ship’s ceremony takes place on the day itself – while London’s parade is on the closest Sunday.

A ceremony onboard Victory is also an act of remembrance both for Lord Nelson and the men that lost their lives in the famous battle.

The day starts on the ship with the raising of the White Ensign of the Royal Navy and the Union Jack.

Following that the flag sequence of Nelson’s famous message to the fleet is also raised: “England expects that every man will do his duty.”

When was the Battle of Trafalgar?

The Battle of Trafalgar took place on October 21, 1805, with the British ships taking on both the French and Spanish fleets off the Cape of Trafalgar.

It was our Navy’s most famous victory – and confirmed our reign on the seas.

The date also marks Lord Nelson’s death, as he was fatally injured in the battle.

During the battle, Nelson was shot by a Frenchman’s musket ball as he was on Victory’s quarterdeck.

He’s regarded as the greatest officer in the history of the Royal Navy with Trafalgar seen as his greatest victory.

Where is the Trafalgar Day parade?

The main Trafalgar Day parade takes place in central London on the nearest Sunday to October 21 – between 10.30am and 1pm.

It’s free to attend.

The parade passes from Horse Guards Parade, in Westminster, past Buckingham Palace, down The Mall, past Admiralty Arch – before arriving in Trafalgar Square.

Some 400 Sea Cadets from the UK, aged 10-18, march on behalf of the Royal Navy – a tradition that spans more than a century.

Due to coronavirus, the parade in London in 2021 is not going ahead.

Instead Sea Cadet units and districts will be holding local parades at the heart of their communities.