What shall we do with a Drunken Sailor?
The last time I was asked to do something with the Brits, IT. WAS. SO. MUCH. FUN. So when tickets came up for grabs for Trafalgar Night I didn’t hesitate to tell them I wanted one.
THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
Trafalgar is arguably the greatest British victory ever won. The battle was fought during the War of the Third Coalition (1805) in which the Royal Navy took on a combined fleet of French and Spanish ships. In total the British fought with 27 ships and the French-Spanish fought with 33 ships.
The battle itself was as fluid as the water beneath them. Explaining where all 55 ships were at one time during the battle takes full books, as well as the strategic plan behind it, which I don’t intend to divulge tonight. However for a good place to start, and then if you are still interested.
What I can tell you is that the British did indeed come away with the victory and by a landslide. They as one Navy, sank over 19 of the combined French-Spainsh Fleet and without having one casualty of their own.
VICE ADMIRAL LORD HORATIO NELSON 1758-1805
A Captain before he was 21, a household name throughout Europe at 39 and killed in action just 3 weeks before his 47th birthday. Nelson lived a colorful and crowded life. As well as winning some of the most resounding victories in British History– and losing an arm and the sight in one eye in the process– he also had a tempestuous and very public love affair with Emma Hamilton, one of the most beautiful women of her day.
In charge of the British fleet and sailing onboard the H.M.S. Victory, he was mortally wounded at the battle of Trafalgar and ordered his men to carry him below decks so the rest of the crew would not see his diminishing state and lose hope.
DID YOU ALSO KNOW that of the 13,000 sailors that served for the Royal Navy 1,260 of them were not born in England or Ireland? This includes 24 Spainiards and 54 Frenchmen that fought against their countries for the British Fleet.
Which means we should be celebrating the battle in style, with a large bottle of Grey Goose. A group of us had signed up to ride the bus to the venue so we opted to start the pre gaming quite early.
Then there was the matter of the missing mini medals. There’s always one guy who doesn’t have his uniform together, geez! Luckily we were getting ready on a base so it took a few phone calls and a quick run across the road at which point we were back on track.
My new favorite past time became pictures in the mirror as everyone put the finishing touches on.
With a couple of flasks of whiskey hidden up our skirts and inside of jackets, we were well on our way to a wonderful evening. We headed over to catch the bus in true JO fashion, causing a ruckus in the back while all of the Captains and their wives sat up front.
Hello incredibly beautiful and awesome ladies!
I couldn’t help but post this photo. Look how stunning she is in that gown, its perfect!
Looking at the seating chart, we somehow found ourselves at the head table. What the heck? We’re just lowly Junior Officers, how are we at the head table with Admirals?
Finding our way to our seats we remained standing for the Official party to include the First Sealord in the British Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations for the U.S. Navy.
Seated at the head table, what what?!
Once the official party arrived and all the guests were seated, we said grace.
Nelson’s Prayer before the Battle of Trafalgar:
**Thanks Kyle for giving me one of the programs to remember all this, I was neglecting my blogging duties in favor for the flask of whiskey hidden under the table. 🙂
It was time for the wine to start flowing and the food to begin!
Lady Emma’s Insalata di mare: Octopus salad, salmon, and clam puree.
Drunkest guy in the entire place on the left right there. Making friends with British officer’s on his other side.
Do the glasses make him look more sophisticated? I’d say Yaas.
Horatio’s Beef Wellington, definitely delicious and I would tell you that the food was worth coming for.
Parading a boat full of chocolate. That’s right, A BOAT full of chocolate.
The band is sitting up on the balcony, ready for the sea ditties when dinner finishes.
Last few glasses of regular wine before the port wine starts being passed.
The best Port Wines come from Lisbon Portugal, and this is a heavy drink that can get you quite intoxicated if you aren’t careful.
Where’s your fourth glass, the port wine is here.
Once the wine is poured all the way around the room, the first toast is always to the Queen and from there the speeches may begin.
A few terms to learn for the festivities:
Turning a Blind Eye. When Nelson was ordered to retreat at Copenhagen, Nelson is supposed to have placed the telescope to his blind eye and claimed he could not see the signal.
Slush Fund. Taken from the money the chef could earn by selling the slush that rose to the top of a cooking pot when boiling salted ham. This greasy by-product was in demand for waterproofing ropes.
Cut of his (her) Jib. The term originated when the nationality of a warship sighted at sea could be accurately determined by the shape of their jib long before the national flag could be seen.
Show a Leg! It rose from the old days when seaman, who were signed on for the duration of a ship’s commission, were always refused shore leave for fear they would desert. So instead women were allowed to live onboard while the ship was in harbor. In the morning they would check the hammock by a show of the leg over the side, if it was hairy it was a male, hairless, female (or a submariner today).
Mind your P’s & Q’s. An admonishment to stay alert or be on your best behavior. Originated form tavern owners who allowed sailors to drink “on credit” until they were hired by a ship. P’s refers to pints, Q’s refers to quarts.
A very funny introductory speech was given for the First Sealord.
At which point he came out and returned the favor.
Then the CNO came in. It was definitely a night for laughing, mostly do to the added port wine at the end.
British First Sea Lord, Sir George Zambellas, CNO equivalent in the U.S. Navy.
Newly appointed CNO- Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Richardson.
Once the speeches were finished we were whisked off to the dance floor, where we spent the remainder of the evening until the buses were called to come pick us up.
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.
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