pocket watch believed to have been utilized by a naval officer in the course of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 is to go beneath the hammer at public sale.
The 235-year-old silver watch was found alongside a handwritten observe from 1897, penned by its Nineteenth-century proprietor, James H Waters.
The observe revealed the watch had belonged to his great-grandfather, Captain Charles Bennett, who had served on “the Tonnant at Trafalgar”.
It’s being supplied in Hansons’ October 6 fantastic artwork public sale with a information value of £400 to £500.
Matt Crowson, Hansons’ militaria professional, mentioned the handwritten observe supplied an interesting perception into the watch’s historical past.
He mentioned: “The observe talked about a seal which is connected to the watch chain. It was given to Bennett by a French officer serving on a ship referred to as Algesiras.
“Bennett and members of his crew seized Algesiras in the course of the Battle of Trafalgar – that makes it extremely possible Bennett carried this watch with him by means of the battle.
“In accordance with historic accounts, HMS Tonnant, initially a French naval vessel generally known as Le Tonnant till captured by the Royal Navy on the Battle of the Nile in 1798, performed an important position at Trafalgar.
“In the course of the battle, HMS Tonnant engaged in fierce fight with French 74-gun flagship Algesiras. After a collision between the vessels, the French tried to board the Tonnant however they had been repelled by British firepower.”
Mr Crowson mentioned that Rear Admiral Magon, the French vessel’s commander, was killed throughout this “intense” engagement.
He added: “With the British gaining the higher hand, Lieutenant Charles Bennett led a boarding celebration of fifty males from the Tonnant, seizing management of the Algesiras.
“They took 270 French officers and males as prisoners beneath deck. Nonetheless, with the Algesiras severely broken and drifting away from the British fleet, the British sailors discovered themselves in a dangerous state of affairs.
“Realising they lacked the manpower to each guard the quite a few French prisoners and restore the masts, Lt Bennett made a tough resolution. He ordered the hatches to be opened, releasing the French prisoners. The French rapidly overpowered the British sailors and regained management of the vessel.
“Lt Bennett confronted a stark selection – resist the French’s declare on the ship, doubtless leading to his males’s demise, or co-operate and assist save the vessel, sparing their lives.
“Bennett selected the latter choice, working alongside the French to reassemble three of the masts. This allowed the ship to sail to Cadiz.
“Whereas official data affirm Bennett because the third Officer on HMS Tonnant throughout Trafalgar, the handwritten observe referred to him as ‘Captain’, suggesting a promotion that doubtless occurred post-Trafalgar.”