After 165 Years H.M.S. Victory Still Serves
Nelson's flagship in his last and greatest battle is now being used as a naval barracks. Fifty prospective Naval officers, studying for commissions and awaiting their Selection Board (they will become temporary sub-lieutenants, R.N.V.R., in the Special Branch), eat and sleep on the same mess-deck and in the same surroundings ass did Nelson's men at Trafalgar in 1805. These ratings live aboard from one to three months, and sleep in hammocks slung from the rails used by the Victory sailors, though they get more than the regulation 17 ins. of slinging width that was all that was allowed when the flagship's complement was 850 men – equal to that of a modern cruiser.
Launched in 1765 the Victory was not commissioned until 1778. She was paid off from active service in 1812, and since 1825 has flown almost continuously the flag of either the Admiral Superintendent of Portsmouth Dockyard or the C.in-C. at Portsmouth. Placed in a special dry-dock at Portsmouth in 1922, she was restored to the same condition as at Trafalgar 138 years ago.