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"“Poor Jack Spratt” at Trafalgar, 21st October 1805" Topic

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345 hits since 21 Sep 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Sep 2018 9:53 p.m. PST

"One's mental image of the Battle of Trafalgar, when Nelson's defeat of the French and Spanish fleets established the supremacy of British naval power for a century, is dominated by the death of Nelson himself. In this enormous battle – thirty-three British ships against forty-one of the enemy – a myriad of other dramas were played out. One that was well known at the time, and which deserves not to be forgotten, involved "Poor Jack Spratt" of HMS Defiance.

Eleventh in the second division, commanded by Vice-Admiral Collingwood, this ‘74' attacked a French ‘74', the Aigle, near the end of the French and Spanish line. These ships were well matched in size and gunpower – the ‘74' two-decker ships of the line were the backbone of all major navies. Commanded by Captain Philip Durham (1763-1845), the Defiance had as Master's Mate a James Spratt (1781-1853). The position was not one held by a commissioned officer and the master himself would have held a warrant. THough a veteran of Copenhagen. Spratt was still a Midshipman at the age of 34, a fact that threatened that his naval career was going nowhere. He seems to have been popularly known as "Jack", like the character in the nursery rhyme…."


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