Trafalgar Day is celebrated by the Royal Navy every 21st of October. On the 21st October 1805 the Royal Navy secured a stunning victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and every year this is remembered with a meal, drinking and toasting. Officers’ messes like to make the most of Trafalgar Day and often souvenir items are bought to give to all those who attended the celebration that year. Today we are looking at one of those souvenirs; a polished slate coaster given out at HMS Norwood back in 2010:
HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at Trafalgar, is depicted in the centre of the coaster, with details of the dinner around the outside. The rear has a felt backing and details of the manufacturer:
The Royal Naval Museum gives the following suggestions for a Trafalgar Night dinner:
COMMEMORATING NELSON’S FAMOUS VICTORY – A NAVAL TRADITION
The Battle of Trafalgar is usually celebrated by commissioned officers of the Royal Navy by holding a Trafalgar Night dinner in the Officer’s Mess. Other interested parties also hold Trafalgar Night dinners in commemoration of the battle and Lord Nelson.
There is no fixed menu for this occasion, but the following dishes could be used:
Breaking the Line – Smoked salmon and lemon with capers
Cannon Balls – Melon balls
Trafalgar Duo – Roulade of salmon and sole
Fleet Broadside – Beef Wellington with Port wine and shallots
Mizzen Main Course – Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
Victory Dessert or Dessert Hamilton – Poached pears
Hardy’s Finale – Cheese and biscuits
Caribbean coffee and Gibraltar mints
However, other dishes can be accommodated and named with Nelson/Trafalgar connections. It should be remembered that after the meal, port is usually drunk and passed to the left.
The Loyal Toast: Diners should stand – unless the company are naval officers who are specifically authorised to remain seated. The toast itself, by Royal decree, is “The Queen”.
The Immortal Memory toast: A Trafalgar Night speech is usually made by a guest of honour. If a speaker has not been arranged, the proposer of the toast will precede it with some Nelsonian comments, and can vary in length according to the custom of the diners. The toast itself is “The Immortal Memory” and is drunk standing in total silence. This is customary out of respect of the memory of the Admiral.
For the 200th anniversary, the original toast was reinstated and used by HM The Queen which is as follows:
“The Immortal Memory of Lord Nelson and those who fell with him”
There is no fixed music for such an occasion, but probably something of a patriotic nature could be used e.g. Rule Britannia