In the general scheme of things, Trafalgar Day (21st October) doesn’t get much attention in our glorious British media, but it’s different if you are a shanty singer!
This year, we got to celebrate Nelson’s greatest victory and his death in 1805, twice! On the 22nd October we joined a group of serving and retired Royal Navy officers and their wives in Yelverton’ s Church Hall to add some music to their annual Trafalgar Day dinner. A very grand occasion, with black ties and medals and in contrast, the Tars looking as scruffy as ever. Later that week we were doing it again, but this time with the members of Cargreen Yacht Club in their lovely little club house on the banks of the Tamar as they combined a celebration of the great sea battle and the end of the sailing season. No black ties and medals on display here, but both occasions had some common features.
The memory of our greatest ever naval officer is treated with all due respect and solemnity, but that doesn’t stop everyone having a great time with good food and large quantities of alcohol, which prepares the ground for lots of lusty singing. And a “Trafalgar Night” event would only be complete if your musical offerings included “ A Life on the Ocean Wave”, “Heart of Oak”, “What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor”, and of course, “A Drop of Nelson’s Blood”!