England Expects…

England Expects… Nelson’s message, “England expects every man will do his duty,” flown by Victory before the battle of Trafalgar looked like this.

This image of the flags from Wikipedia:

Nelson requested his signalmen to hoist the message, “England confides that every man will do his duty,” but the word “confides” would have to be spelled out using the Popham Telegraphic Code (adopted by the Navy in 1803, the code used multi-colored flags and symbols like those above, to describe either whole words, or letters), while the word “expects” existed as a word in the code. As Nelson also added that the signalmen would have to be quick in sending this message as he had one more to send after it, they asked if they might substitute the word expects for confide. Obviously, Nelson agreed. Nelson’s last signal was, “Engage the enemy more closely.”

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