Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson’s 259th Birthday

Today marks the 259th birthday of one of Britain’s most famous sailors. Horatio Nelson was born on September 29th 1758 in a rectory in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk. He was the sixth of eleven children of the Reverend Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine Suckling.

On January 1st 1771, he began his naval career by reporting for duty aboard HMS Raisonnable then under command of his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling. He joined the ship’s company as an ordinary sailor but was soon appointed a midshipman and began his officer training. Nelson would serve on a number of ships during his career and would participate in several expeditions including an effort to find the fabled Northwest Passage; a route through the Arctic to India. In 1778, Nelson received his first command namely the 12-gun brig HMS Badger.

During his career he saw action in the American War of Independence and in the Wars of the Second and Third Coalitions against post-revolutionary France. It was during this last conflict that Nelson led a British fleet in the battle that would make him a legend – the Battle of Trafalgar.

On October 21st 1805, the now Vice-Admiral Nelson led twenty-seven British ships of the line from his flagship, HMS Victory and defeated thirty-three French and Spanish warships under the French Admiral Villeneuve in the Atlantic Ocean off the southwest coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost. It was the most decisive naval battle of the war and ended French ambitions to invade England but it would cost Nelson his life when he was shot by an enemy sniper.

Admiral Horatio Nelson nelson's columnIn 1809, Nelson was commemorated with a large granite pillar capped by a statue of his likeness at the top in the centre of Sackville Street (now O’Connell Street) in Dublin, Ireland. In 1843, the similar Nelson’s Column was erected in Trafalgar Square, London and has become an important symbol of the city. In 1966, over 40 years after the Republic of Ireland gained independence from the UK, Irish Republicans bombed the pillar in Dublin which sent the statue at the top crashing to the ground. It was never rebuilt.

Earlier this year, in the wake of a wave of protests in the US against statues to Confederate Generals of the American Civil War, Journalist Afua Hirsch wrote in The Guardian newspaper;

It is figures like Nelson who immediately spring to mind when I hear the latest news of confederate statues being pulled down in the US…The colonial and pro-slavery titans of British history are still memorialised.

Her article called for Nelson’s Column and a number of other statues of British Empire figures to be taken down but she has been met with strong opposition.

 

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Pakistan Chief of Army Staff in London to meet with MoD

General Qamar Bajwa of the Pakistani Army arrived in the UK on Sunday evening accompanied by Major General Asif Ghafoor at the start of a five day visit organised by the British Ministry of Defence. General Bajwa will meet British military leaders to discuss increasing the military relationship between the UK and Pakistan in the fight against extremist groups operating in Southern Asia including ISIS.

Pakistan army chief of staff qamar bajwaAmong the topics the General and his aide are expected to discuss include Pakistan’s concerns regarding extremism within Pakistan’s tribal area, the situation in Afghanistan, the security of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor and the disputed Kashmir region. As well as meeting British military and political leaders, the General is also expected to meet with leaders of the Pakistani community in the UK.

General Bajwa was promoted to the rank of four star general and appointed as the Chief of the Army Staff of the Pakistan Army by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in November 2016. He is the 16th general to hold the post and succeeded General Raheel Sharif who had held the post since 2013. Bajwa is known to be an advocate of democracy and has been characterised as having a more tempered approach to India than some of his predecessors.

The General’s visit to the UK follows a visit to Pakistan by the UK’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd last month. During the visit she was quoted in local media as saying;

Pakistan has suffered more than most from the scourge of terrorism…I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of the [Pakistan Interior] minister as well as Pakistan’s police and its armed forces in delivering significant improvements in security across the country over the last two years…We have a lot to learn from each other.

Westminster attack makes two days of terror in the UK

The incidents that unfolded outside the Houses of Parliament and on Westminster Bridge this afternoon mark two consecutive days of terror attacks on UK soil. While the details of precisely what happened today are still being released to the media what we do know is that a man drove a vehicle in to a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before crashing in to railings. The attack eerily echoes similar attacks carried out in France and Germany over the last year. Figures on casualties remain unconfirmed at this time but at least five people have been seen removed from the scene by ambulance.

He then abandoned the vehicle and at around 1445hrs either he or an accomplice attacked a police officer outside the Houses of Parliament. The police officer was stabbed before the attacker was then shot by armed officers responding to the scene. British Prime Minister Theresa May was still inside the building at the time of the attack on the officer following her weekly Prime Minister’s Questions with the House of Commons and was quickly ushered away by her security team. The House of Commons was then put in to lockdown as the area was searched and secured by police officers.

While the incident at Westminster is getting world attention it has overshadowed a terror attack carried out on UK soil yesterday by Irish dissidents in Strabane, County Tyrone. A bomb exploded near two Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers patrolling Townsend Street at 2030hrs on Tuesday night. The attack occurred just hours after former IRA commander Martin McGuinness’s body was carried through Bogside in Derry just 12 miles away.

PSNI Strabane

PSNI vehicle in Strabane, County Tyrone (BBC)

Speaking to the press, PSNI Superintendent Gordon McCalmont said;

“We are incredibly lucky that the lives of officers and other members of the community were not lost last night.

It is the latest in a string of attacks by Irish dissidents that included a sniper attack on a PSNI officer at a petrol station in north Belfast in January and an attempted bomb attack in the Poleglass area of the city. The Police Federation for Northern Ireland described the attackers who planted the bomb as “terrorists” while many republican politicians voiced their condemnation.

Aircraft at the Royal Air Force Museum London

A collection of images of aircraft on display at the Royal Air Force Museum London located on the site of Hendon Aerodrome. Click here to visit the official website.

All photos kindly contributed to Defence of the Realm by Jim Knowles.



For more images of British military equipment and museums please visit the Galleries section or follow Defence of the Realm on Instagram

If you have photographs or articles you wish to contribute to Defence of the Realm than you can email them to defencerealmyt@gmail.com. If successful you will of course be given full credit for your contribution and can even promote your own website/blog/social media account.

HMS Duncan (D37) & AugustaWestland AW159 Wildcat HMA.2 ZZ376 at West India Dock, London. May 2016

A collection of images of the Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan (D37) and AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat HMA.2 ZZ376.

All images taken on May 21st 2016
All photographs kindly contributed by Dave Taskis (please take time to visit his blog by clicking here).


HMS Duncan (D37)

HMS Duncan, the sixth and final Type 45 destroyer, was the most complete at launch in October 2010. She will be the first of the Type 45 class to be capable of deploying the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile. This was the first time the vessel had visited London.


AugustaWestland AW159 Wildcat HMA.2 ZZ376


For more images of British military equipment and museums please visit the Galleries section or follow Defence of the Realm on Instagram

If you have photographs or articles you wish to contribute to Defence of the Realm than you can email them to defencerealmyt@gmail.com. If successful you will of course be given full credit for your contribution and can even promote your own website/blog/social media account.

German Warship FGS Main A515 at West India Docks, London. April 2016

A collection of pictures of the German Elbe-class replenishment ship FGS Main A515 during a stay at the West India Docks at Canary Wharf in London.

All photos were taken on April 16th 2016
Photos: Dave Taskis


The FGS Main was accompanied by two other German warships during its stay at the London docks namely the Ensdorf-class minesweepers  FGS Pegnitz M1090 and FGS Siegburg M1098. The vessels are participating in SquadEx 2016 conducting minesweeping exercises in the Baltic Sea.

For more images of British military equipment and museums please visit the Galleries section or follow Defence of the Realm on Instagram

If you have photographs or articles you wish to contribute to Defence of the Realm than you can email them to defencerealmyt@gmail.com. If successful you will of course be given full credit for your contribution and can even promote your own website/blog/social media account.