HMS Victoria, pride of the fleet

“Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:”Britons never will be slaves.”

Lord Nelson hero of British Empire and possibly our most celebrated naval hero after all is he who stands aloft Trafalgar Square sword in his hand. However it may be possible that a haul of artifacts linked to great man which was on board HMS Victoria when it sank in 1893 and is currently residing at 500 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean…and the sword may well be amongst them!

The British team who discovered the shipwreck have now located Tryon’s cabin and an adjoining cupboard. It is apparently a bit like a shrine to Nelson!

Sadly the HMS Victoria, pride of the fleet went down not in battle, nor in the perfect storm but during peacetime maneuvers. All hands, some 358 sailors were lost after a disastrous collision with another warship off the coast  of Lebanon.

So why would they be upon the HMS Victoria?

Well it turns out vice admiral Tyron was a big fan of Nelson and like all fans had a fair collection (apparently he brought them at an auction) of his artifacts on board at auction, however unlike Nelson he managed to sink the pride of the fleet and lose some rare Nelson memorabilia as well.

The British Team said of the MOD

“They were very interested in the sword but seemed to get cold feet when I offered to bring it up for them. I don’t want people to go and strip the ship bare. I would like to bring the sword to the surface but I worry that it would be seized by the local authorities. If the items are to be recovered, I would like to see them end up in a museum in the UK.” Mark Ellyatt, British Team Diver

But what of Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon KCB?

He was the commander of Mediterranean Fleet and it was his fatal order that resulted in the sinking of HMS Victoria. As he went down to a watery grave with his ship, survivors said his last words were “It is all my fault.” Then apparently his ghost was said to appear in his London home at the exact moment of his death as he went down with his ship.

A rather sad end to a successful career really. Tryon joined the Royal Navy in 1848  and served aboard many Royal Navy ships including HMS Warrior, HMS Surprise, HMS Raleigh and HMS Monarch.

He was not a man too cross and known for his strictness but also could boast a reputation for being a daring but skillful ship handler and it was this that helped him through the ranks to become rear-admiral.

 

 

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