Sunday, December 22, 2013
DAVID CHRISTIANDavid Christian my 4th Great Grandfather a Private in the 130th Company of the Royal Marines, served 6 months before being discharged after the loss of his left arm (from the elbow down) at the battle of Trafalgar. He was aboard the HMS Africa, a 64 gun third rate ship, one of twelve ships in Admiral Nelsons "Weather Line". The Africa under the command of Captain Henry Digby had drifted north during the night of October 20th 1805 and on the morning of the battle was unsupported and north of the Franco-Spanish fleet. Admiral Nelson signaled the Africa to increase speed and rejoin the fleet, whether Captain Digby choose to ignore the signal or did not see it seems to be undecided, but the Africa attacked alone from the North making his way along the Franco~Spanish line,exchanging broadsides with various ships.
In the book "The Trafalgar Captains: Their Lives and Memorials, Colin White wrote this about Digby and the HMS Africa " Although one of the smallest battleships present at the action, she played one of the most remarkable and courageous rolls in the battle."
The Africa sustained heavy damage in the battle, 8 men died and 44 were wounded. David Christian received £ 40 from Lloyd s Patriotic Fund for his wounds and was discharged at Chatham on the 2nd day of March 1806.
By Lieut General John Barclay
Commanding the Division of Royal Marines at Chatham.