COLLINGWOOD - FORGOTTEN HERO
Admiral Lord Collingwood's
presence is everywhere in North East England - on the names of streets, monuments
But who is this forgotten hero? And what was
his involvement in the Battle of Trafalgar which celebrates its 200th anniversary
"Cuthbert Collingwood was modest,
brave and wise but it was his devotion to king and country and his unwavering
sense of duty that set him apart." Charles Collingwood.
Collingwood is known as "the Northumbrian who saved the nation", but
he's also a forgotten North East hero.
He's the man who saved the British
Navy together with his close friend Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
devotion to duty was such that even after Trafalgar he continued to ensure that
Britain ruled the waves in the 18th and early 19th Centuries.
But who was
the man behind the little-known legend?
A commanding presence
of us know the name Collingwood from walking down his street in Newcastle or past
his imposing monument in Tynemouth.
Admiral Lord Collingwood was a colossus
of a man, but few remember his crucial role in Britain's naval history.
|Modest Collingwood's name has sunk with little trace |
He fired the first shot at Trafalgar, and took over command of the
British fleet after the death of his friend Nelson.
But whilst Nelson's
name has been immortalised, Collingwood's good name only seems to survive through
his family tree.
This modest man is largely a background player in most
history books, yet his contribution was immense.
When his memorial was unveiled
it was said that:
"He was a typical north countryman -
never duly elated by success or depressed by failure, caring little little for
|Collingwood fact file|
Cuthbert Collingwood was born on October 24, 1748 in Newcastle. He was the
son of a local merchant.
Educated at the Royal Free Grammar School in Newcastle.
the Royal Navy straight from school and rises through its ranks.
by court martial in 1777 for disobedience of orders but acquitted.
Sarah Blackett in 1791 and sets up home Morpeth.
Serves in command of The
Excellent in 1797 in St Vincent.
Second in command to Nelson at Battle of
Trafalgar in 1805.
Dies at sea off Minorca on the Ville De Paris in 1810.
in St Paul's Cathedral in London's.
Source: Cuthbert Collingwood
- The Northumbrian who Saved the Nation" by Andrew
Cuthbert Collingwood was born and bred
on the banks of the river Tyne.
After being educated at the city's Royal
Grammar School, he joined the Navy in 1761 when he was just 12-years-old.
sailed out of the Tyne on board the Shannon, a frigate on which he was to learn
the rudiments of seamanship.
Under the guidance of his uncle he served as
By 1772, Collingwood was an experienced seaman, and he was
sent to Jamaica where he met another midshipman by the name of Horatio Nelson.
were to rise through the ranks together serving their country in foreign seas.
was the start of a life-long friendship between the two men.
ambitions there was never any jealousy between them.
This state of mutual
admiration continued until the Battle of Trafalgar, when Nelson was given the
command over the more experienced Collingwood.
Navy career was to take him all over Europe, North America and the West Indies.
visits home to the North East of England were few and far between.
Collingwood met his family in Portsmouth as he could not be released to travel
The 400 mile journey would have taken his family at least
two weeks on difficult roads.
It was one of a limited number of occasions
when Collingwood met his wife over the course of his career - he only ever spent
three years on dry land.
Battle of Trafalgar
history books tend to give all the glory to Nelson. In fact, they were equal partners."
Historian Andrew Griffin.
The Battle of Trafalgar has become
inextricably linked with the name of Lord Nelson, but Collingwood's involvement
The battle remains one of the most famous and crucial in British
naval history, and celebrates its 200th anniversary this year.
21, 1805 the combined forces of France and Spain were annihilated by the English
fleet following a bloody battle.
|Charismatic Nelson overshadowed Collingwood|
There were many heroes that day, not least Nelson, who was mortally
injured in the fighting.
As Nelson lay dying, Collingwood took control amongst
the thunderous battle that raged all around him.
In routing the French and
Spanish enemy forces from his ship, the Royal Sovereign, Collingwood defeated
the foreign forces.
Had the Royal Navy lost the battle, Napoleon
with his 115,000 troops based at Boulogne, would have swept across the channel
and invaded England.
With Collingwood's help the British Navy did not lose
a single ship at Trafalgar, and the country was saved from invasion.
Collingwood's commitment to the Royal Navy's supremacy didn't stop
When back home Collingwood planted acorns at every opportunity
to boost future stocks of timber for British ships.
|Victory was made from 3,000 English oak trees|
knew that it took 2,000-3,000 oaks to build a ship like Victory.
concerned that the British had enough oak to replenish the ageing fleet when the
Collingwood acquired land in the Cheviots at College Valley in
Northumberland, and created forestry plantations there.
technology was to change in the 19th Century, and ships would be built out of
iron rather than wood.
think how I am to be happy again, my thoughts carry me back to Morpeth."
After his famous victory, Collingwood received a pension of £2,000 per annum
and was made Baron Collingwood.
Despite his time away from home Collingwood
remained very fond of his Northumberland roots.
Sadly he was never to return
to his family in Morpeth after Trafalgar - he died at sea near Minorca in 1810.
"See how that noble fellow
Collingwood takes his ship into action". Collingwood Monument.
Collingwood is celebrated on buildings and memorials around the North East.
down places with links to the great man is a bit of a treasure hunt.
|Rescuing Collingwood - restoring the hero's reputation|
Why not follow our guide to places associated with the hero of Trafalgar
in our photo gallery.
Perhaps the most
poignant monument to Collingwood is his statue at Tynemouth which looks out to
And there are signs that Collingwood's name is being reclaimed
as a new generation discovers him.
Morpeth Town Council and school children
recently planted an avenue of 12 oak trees along the bank of the River Wansbeck
from Oldgate Bridge to honour the forgotten hero.
It's a fitting tribute
to the man who was instrumental in saving Britain from invasion.
Perhaps you can find the missing piece of the Collingwood jigsaw?
|Join the hunt for the missing Collingwood bust|
The famous bust of Lord Collingwood once decorated a building on Newcastle's
It was later moved to St Nicolas' Cathedral, but has been missing
Inside Out would like to hear from you if you think you know
the whereabouts of this important statue - email