Last surviving Union Jack from the Battle of Trafalgar to be auctioned

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The only surviving Union Jack to have been flown by the Royal Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar has been discovered in a drawer. The flag was flown from the jackstaff of HMS Spartiate, one of Nelson’s warships, as the battle against the French navy raged 204 years ago this month.

After the defeat of the French, the flag was presented by a grateful crew to Lieutenant James Clephan, one of the most popular officers in the Royal Navy and one of the few to have risen from the ranks. After Trafalgar, Clephan was promoted to captain and went on to command his own ship.

The 11ft x 7ft (3.5m x 2.1m) Union Jack was made by the Spartiate’s crew from 31 bunting panels and is riddled with holes made by shot and shell splinters during the battle. It has been in the captain’s family since the battle but is now being sold at auction with a pre-sale estimate of £15,000.

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