Trafalgar's last Union Jack

2009-10-08 22:17
London - The last known surviving Union Jack to have been flown at the Battle of Trafalgar is expected to fetch up to £15 000 later this month after having spent years folded away in a draw in Australia.

The battle-scarred flag was likely suspended from the bow of HMS Spartiate, one of Admiral Nelson's victorious warships that destroyed the French fleet off the Spanish coast in 1805.

The delicate 3.5 x 2.2 metre flag, riddled with holes from shot and shell, was believed to have been sewn on board the ship.

It was given by its 540-strong crew as a token of their gratitude to Lieutenant James Clepham after the battle.

Clepham was a popular officer who served aboard the warship. He was recognised for his bravery at Trafalgar and later went on to command his own ship.

Handed down

The flag, which has been handed down through generations of Clepham's descendants since his death in 1851, is being sold by one of his distant relatives now living in Australia.

"It is a pretty important artefact," said Charles Miller, director of Charles Miller Ltd, a company that specialises in maritime antiquities, which will offer the flag at its annual Trafalgar Day sale in London on October 21.

"You mustn't underestimate the impact of Trafalgar - it's very easy to brush it off as a bit of jingoistic nonsense ..," he told Reuters.

"But don't forget this effectively ended Napoleon's conquest of Europe. Having finally smashed his combined fleet, there was no prospect of him invading this country. That was it, the end of Napoleon's sea power," Miller said.

The flag is expected to fetch between £10 000 to £15 000 pounds.

Trafalgar

The Spartiate was the last ship in Nelson's column during the momentous battle - his warships all sailed in a line to engage the French fleet.

She began life as a 74-gun French ship that was captured at the battle of the Nile in 1798, another famous Nelson action, and was later absorbed into the English navy.

"The interesting thing about that is that she was also the ship that fired the shot whose splinter caused Nelson to lose or damage his eye," Miller said.

"So the famous images of him in a patch, which are bit exaggerated - he wore a shade actually - all that nonsense is down to Spartiate."

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Spontaneity and bright ideas are emphasized today but there is a tendency to be too impulsive and you may want to keep a handle on...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.