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Spanish flag flown at the Battle of Trafalgar

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This is the ensign from the Spanish ship San Ildefonso which, rather than being flown over St Paul's during Lord Nelson's funeral, was hung from one of the interior balconies. It is to the left in this painting:




Following the battle, during which she was captured, the ship was sailed to Gibraltar and subsequently taken into the RN, as HMS Ildefonso. She was scrapped in 1816.


The photo was taken at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, where it is part of the flag collection. I think this must be during one of its periodic inspections by the conservation staff. The place looks to be the upper mezzonine floor of the Neptune Hall – probably the only space large enough to unroll it completely.

Edited by Stockholm tar
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Imagine the challenges of setting and striking this flag while underway. Its easy enough to picture the Museum staff in the photo having a tough time getting a modern piece of fabric the size of this flag stowed. Now imagine its dusk on the Atlantic and you are instructed to strike this flag and stow it. IF you get it down on deck without fouling, you still have to fold it into a neat package. Look how much floor space it takes up in the photo and then picture the limited amount of space on the poopdeck of the ship.

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  • 5 months later...

wait I don't get it why did the british hang the spanish ensign flag at Nelsons funeral? was it a sign of respect or what?


The flags of all French and Spanish ships captured at Trafalgar were displayed at the funeral as a reminder and celebration of Nelson's achievements. His funeral car also bore the names of the ships San Josef, L'Orient, Trinidad and Bucentaure

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