It seems appropriate - having covered the Army with General Gordon and the RAF with Douglas Bader - to give the Senior Service a plug this time. It seems even more appropriate at a time when the RN is so weak and overstretched that we have to rely on the French to provide air cover.
It was against the French that Nelson made his name and, of course, eventually lost his life. On the morning of the 21st October, Nelson sent his final dispatch and wrote his famous prayer.
“MAY THE GREAT GOD, whom I worship, grant to my country and for the benefit of Europe in general, a great and glorious victory: and may no misconduct, in anyone, tarnish it: and may humanity after victory be the predominant feature in the British Fleet.
For myself Individually, I commit my life to Him who made me and may His blessing light upon my endeavours for serving my Country faithfully. To Him I resign and the just cause which is entrusted to me to defend.
Amen, Amen, Amen."
Such fine words at such a time of stress. It would be interesting to know what Nelson would make of the RN today where the French build our ships and supply their armaments.