Lord Nelson’s innovative combat tactics and his fleet’s discipline are often cited as the twin towers of success at the most remarkable sea battle in history, The Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.
There is a quiet hero in this tale, however, whose name is often overlooked. Hailing from Swansea, flexible yet resilient with a lustrous orangey sheen. No, it’s not Gavin Henson. It’s copper !
Swansea’s copper was known as the purest in the world. ‘Copper bottoming’ ships improved manoeuvrability, providing a tactical advantage to Admiral Nelson, which helped win the battle with the French.
Eventually, the whole British fleet was fitted with Swansea copper, which for the remaining years of the Napoleonic War kept ships hulls in good condition, needing little maintenance or cleaning below the waterline.