Colour of Spanish Ships at Trafalgar

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    Sam Willis

      I’m doing some work on the battle of Trafalgar. I’ve found numerous references to the Santissima Trinidad being painted red. But does anyone know if all the Spanish ships were that colour?


      Malcolm Lewis

        This seems to be a popular topic amongst modellers. I am sure you have already found the references that I have but for what they are worth one tells me that Peter Goodwin in his work Ships of Trafalgar “makes the oft repeated point that the Santissima Trinidad, was red with white streaks”
        Geoff Hunt, the noted marine artist, painted the Spanish four decker in “strongly glowing red”.
        As to your main question as to whether other Spanish ships were also painted red maybe Peter Goodwin could assist you here. At the Battle of the Nile apparently the English ships were painted in nine different colours.
        Nelson was often ahead of his time in strategic thinking, and with his battle experience, particularly at the Nile which was fought at night, had made him especially aware of problems with “friendly fire” in thick charcoal filled gun smoke. He initiated the black and yellow painted stripes for the hulls of his ships at Trafalgar as well as the “home made” ensigns rigged between the masts.

        Gary Morgan

          At page 26 of Volume V of The Royal Navy, a history from the earliest times to the present by Sir William Laird Clowes he quotes the Neptune’s Captain William Stanhope Lovell as saying of the Spanish ships “some of them were painted like ourselves – with double yellow sides; some with a single red or yellow streak; others all black; and the noble Santisima Trinidad, with four distinct lines of red, with a white ribbon between them …. The Santa Ana was painted all black’

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