When I was at school, Trafalgar Day was one of those dates drummed into you and although it was never celebrated, the 21st October was always known as an important and historic day. It was therefore very special to be invited as your Master to the Trafalgar Day Parade at Trafalgar Square, beneath Nelson’s column, to celebrate the victory of the British fleet over the French and Spanish at the great sea battle at Trafalgar but with the sadness of Lord Horatio Nelson’s death — shot by a single musket ball from a French sharpshooter from high up in the rigging.
By coincidence, this August bank holiday just passed, I spent a week at Burnham Market and went for a few drinks at the Lord Nelson pub in Burnham Thorpe which is where Nelson had his farewell party in 1793 before setting off to sea for the last time. His Father was the Rector of three churches in the Burnhams, the other two being in Burnham Market. Sadly Nelson’s Father died when he was only 9 leaving him an Orphan as his Mother had died when he was just three. So began Nelson’s journey to becoming the World’s most celebrated naval officer when he was sent to sea at the tender age of 13.
210 years after his death at Trafalgar I am sat below Nelsons column in the second row alongside Vice Admiral Sir Jonathan Todd the former Deputy
We were treated to an hour of physical training routines, marching and massed band displays primarily by the Sea Cadets who had travelled from all around the country to be with us. The last item on the programme was the service of hymns and prayers conducted by the Sea Cadet Corps Chaplain Reverend Graham Hitchins who also just happens to be the Rector of the Church at Burnham Market where Lord Nelson’s Father was Rector!
Immediately following the event I was escorted by my two new Admiral friends through St. James’s Park to Wellington Barracks where speeches, awards and a marvellous buffet lunch was served. Despite being a keen sailor somehow I have never felt as close to the sea and Nelson as I have on this day.
A very fitting end as my last official engagement as Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors before the Court Meeting on Monday 19th October. I have indeed had a wonderful year and loved every minute of it. What a privilege and pleasure it has been to hold this office.
Graham F. Chase Master