NELSON (HORATIO, Lord)
Two fragments from the flag flying on HMS Victory at Trafalgar and torn by his sailors while being placed on his coffin in St Paul´s Cathedral, comprising a strip of blue cloth, hemmed at one edge (40 by 120 mm.) and a smaller strip of white cloth (20 by 100 mm.), the latter with two later wax seals impressed Enys´; together with an accompanying letter, sent by registered post, by Henry Hoper [antiquary and Vicar of St Nicholas Portslade, 1815-1859] to J. Enys Jr, dated 9 May 1856: The scrap of bunting was part of the Flag born by the Victory at Trafalgar afterwards carried by Sailors at Nelson´s funeral & torn to pieces after the ceremony & scrambled for by the by-standers one of whom was my Wife´s Cousin Mr J. Constable from whom I obtained the Relic, in a folder
PART OF THE ENSIGN FLOWN BY THE VICTORY AT TRAFALGAR AND CARRIED BY HER SAILORS AT NELSON´S FUNERAL. The tearing of the flag described in Henry Hoper´s letter (quoted above) is perhaps the best-known episode in Nelson´s state funeral at St Paul´s; in Carola Oman´s account: The final incident of Lord Nelson´s funeral, found by many spectators the most impressive, was undisciplined and unrehearsed. It had been set down that the men of the Victory were to furl the shot-rent colours which they had borne in the procession and lay them upon the coffin; but when the moment came, they seized upon the ensign, largest of the Victory´s three flags, and tearing a great piece off it, quickly managed so that every man transferred to his bosom a memorial of his great and favourite commander. As the wife of one of Nelson´s captains remarked, That was Nelson: the rest was so much the Herald´s Office (Nelson,1947 (1950), p.566 and Colin White, The Immortal Memory´ in The Nelson Companion, 1995, p.14).