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Memories of victory live on; TRIBUTE: City celebrations for Trafalgar anniversary.

Byline: By James Cartledge

IT was a naval struggle won 201 years ago but the Battle of Trafalgar was brought to life for 21 st century shoppers in landlocked Birmingham.

Dignitaries, history buffs and present day Royal Navy commanders gathered in the Bullring at the feet of Britain's first statue erected in memory of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, who was mortally wounded in the encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte's French forces.

Academic and Birmingham Mail columnist Prof Carl Chinn represented Birmingham's St George's Day Association as he laid a wreath in Nelson's honour on the 201st anniversary of Trafalgar on Saturday.

Other tributes were left by Lord Mayor Coun Mike Sharpe, Navy commodore Jamie Miller and Eileen Skidmore, of the Nelson Society.

Prof Chinn branded those who questioned the relevance of Trafalgar Day "misguided and ignorant".

"It matters because Britain matters," he told the crowd of onlookers. "There would have been no Britain had Nelson not won that day. Trafalgar was a defining moment in the history of our nation.

"Napoleon was preparing to invade and, if he had, we would have lost our rights and our culture - our very being would have been swept away.

"Trafalgar matters because this country has a heritage we must pass on."

Prof Chinn laid a wreath of a cross of St George, while the Nelson Society's was in the form of an anchor.

The event was organised by Birmingham Civic Society next to the statue, which was erected in 1809 by a grateful city in homage to Nelson.

The band of Sutton Coldfield sea cadets played the Last Post ahead of a minute's silence. The party, which also included a sea soldiers' re-enactment group dressed in period uniform, then marched through New Street to Victoria Square.

CAPTION(S):

LEST WE FORGET... Trafalgar Day celebrations at Nelson's statue in the Bull Ring. Pictures: Jason Skarratt Photosales No.: JS211006TRAFALGARDAY-2 ' POIGNANT... Lord Mayor Coun Mike Sharpe lays a wreath.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 23, 2006
Words:322
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