A mother paid an emotional visit to HMS Victory after researching her descendancy from Admiral Lord Nelson.
Lily Style, of South Brent, Devon, brought her partner Matthew Gibson and four year-old daughter Sophie along for the special day out at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where the ship lies in dry dock.
She said: “HMS Victory is a perfect war memorial for a brave crew who didn’t die, except – so poignantly – Nelson, my fourth great grandfather. His death here in a moment of glory felt very, very sad to me. To me the Victory felt like both a celebration of its unsung crewmen heroes and a sad, silent shrine to Nelson whose death resonates very deeply.”
Lily had visited the Battle of Trafalgar warship as a child. Her recent interest and research was prompted earlier this year after meeting an older brother she had never met. He had researched into their Nelson descent via online ancestry sites.
She said Victory felt like a ‘genuine national treasure’.
Lily added: “Seeing the point where Nelson died with the large painting displayed portraying the scene did bring a tear to my eye. I think the Victory experience, having brought Nelson so vividly to life, made his death feel fresh and the loss new.
“The whole experience was wonderful. It has enriched my life and I am very glad that the National Museum of the Royal Navy have preserved the Victory so well so that its story – that the Victory and its brave crew saved England – is open to all.
“My four-year-old daughter, Sophie thoroughly enjoyed exploring the ship. She is too young to really understand about ancestors; sea battles or war, but she was very excited to be visiting the Victory and has learnt both Nelson and Emma’s names and to recognise their portraits. She loved the whole Historic Dockyard, though we didn’t have time to visit every attraction, and she kept saying, ‘I LOVE boats!’”