Then & Now: England expects

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The Independent Online
21 October, 1805: Lieutenant Ellis, a Marine Officer on HMS Ajax, reports on receiving from Lord Nelson the signal: 'England expects that every man this day will do his duty.'

'I was desired to inform those on the main-deck of the admiral's signal. Upon acquainting one of the quartermasters of the order, he assembled the men with 'Avast there, lads, come and hear the Admiral's words'. When the men were mustered, I delivered with becoming dignity the sentence, rather anticipating that the effect on the men would be to awe them by its grandeur. Jack, however, did not appreciate it, for there were murmurs from some, whilst others in an audible whisper, murmured, 'Do our duty] Of course we'll do our duty] I've always done mine, haven't you? Let us come alongside of 'em, and we'll soon show whether we'll do our duty.' Still, the men cheered vociferously - more, I believe from love and admiration of their Admiral and leader than from a full appreciation of this well-known signal.'

9 October, 1992: Gillian Shephard, Secretary of State for Employment, announced her intention of abolishing the May Day holiday, introduced in 1978 as a day of international labour solidarity. She told delegates to the Conservative Party conference that her personal preference was for an additional holiday on 21 October, to be called Trafalgar Day, since Lord Nelson, who received a mortal wound in the Battle of Trafalgar, came from her home county of Norfolk.

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