Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Robson Cruse and the Battle of Trafalgar

Russell Cruse has alerted me to an interesting website which has some fascinating information about the HMS Tonnant, the ship on which Robson Cruse served as a midshipman in the Battle of Trafalgar.

HMS Tonnant was fourth in line in Admiral Collingwood's column and was the only 80-gun ship in Lord Nelson's fleet at Trafalgar. She was at the centre of the action throughout the battle and fought at close quarters with the 74-gun Algesiras, the flagship of the French Admiral Magan.

Twenty-six men from the HMS Tonnant were killed at the Battle of Trafalgar. The National Archives has a list of the names of all the men killed in action. A further fifty men from HMS Tonnant were injured in the battle. Robson Cruse must have been an incredibly brave and lucky man.

The ship's captain, Charles Tyler, was severely wounded in the battle by a musket ball in his right thigh. Tyler was awarded the Naval Gold Medal for his valour and a sword of honour from the Patriotic Fund. His medal was auctioned by Bonhams in July 2005 and sold for £89,600. His Trafalgar Sword and Belt sold for the astonishing sum of £179,200. Also included in the auction was an intriguing item described as "The Glorious Victory of the 21" by Charles Tyler, Captain of HMS Tonnant, which sold for £4,800.

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