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The Nelson Banner Madron Church
HMS Seahawk Guard march past Madron parade
HMS Seahawk Guard march past Madron parade
HMS Seahawk Band Madron Parade
HMS Seahawk Guard Madron parade
Ordinary Cadet Tristan Lane carrying the Nelson Banner, Madron parade

Culdrose parades for Trafalgar thanksgiving

Published: 23 Oct 2013

Sailors from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose paraded at the annual Trafalgar Thanksgiving & Nelson Memorial Service and Parade atMadronChurch,Penzance. 

The service is held annually to commemorate Vice Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory over the combined French and Spanish Fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar. Legend has it that the first news of the British Navy’s victory at Trafalgar was passed to fishermen working in Mounts Bay by HMS Pickle as she made her way home after the battle. The fishermen carried the message back to port and, on 4 November 1805, the news of Nelson’s death and victory was announced from the Assembly Rooms inPenzance. 

The assembled crowd then proceeded to the Mother Church of Penzance, theChurchofSt Maddernat Madron, where a memorial service was held and the Nelson Banner, which was hastily prepared to mourn the death of Nelson, was paraded for the first time. The Banner is now kept inMadronParishChurchand brought forth each year on the Sunday closest to Trafalgar Day when it is held to the “Immortal Memory”. 

For many years similar services were held but it was in 1946 that the tradition of holding an annual commemoration was revived by the Reverend (later Canon) Michael Hocking, a former naval captain, and vicar of Madron at the time.   

“The Service and Parade are important and brings together the community of Madron with people who have a Seafaring connection,” Said Dr Michael Hersant of Madron Parish Church and led the service. “The Royal Navy, Sea Cadets, Coast Guard, RNLI and Naval Associations were all represented here today, in a formal but friendly act of remembrance.” 

Upholding the tradition and playing a big part of the day, RNAS Culdrose marched on completion of the packed service that was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall Colonel Edward Bolitho OBE, Captain Mark Garratt Commanding Officer RNAS Culdrose and the Major of Penzance Councillor Mr Phil Rendle, as well as Civic leaders, senior Naval Officers and the parishioners of Madron. 

Leading the parade was HMS Seahawk Volunteer Band who headed a march past included a Colour party parading the Queens Colour flanked by Sailors guarding the Ensign. Captain Garratt took the salute as marching platoons from RNAS Culdrose, the Sea Cadet Corps, Royal Naval Association and the Royal British Legion as well as various veterans’ organisations filed past.


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