Anorak News | French Gaulle

French Gaulle

by | 29th, June 2005

‘MELTING boots and non-firing guns aside, we had thought the British military was stronger than a single tall ship.

‘When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown in to the sea’

Looking at the picture of the Grand Turk sailing by the massive 856ft nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, the pride of the French fleet, our island race seems to be in trouble.

But before we recall the troops from Iraq, take to our li-los and steel ourselves for battle with alcopops and dance music, we realise that this is no new fight but merely a re-enactment of the battle of Trafalgar.

Sure, the French had not exactly entered into the spirit of the thing by meeting our wooden and canvas stand-in for Admiral Nelson’s flagship, Victory, with gunmetal and atomic might, but they did loose first time round and who can really blame them for trying a new tactic this time.

It’s a similar picture over on the Times’s cover. “Action began at 12 o’clock by the leading ships breaking through the enemy’s lines and…engaging them at their muzzles,” writes the Times on Nov 7 1805.

But rather then dwell on the paper’s reproduction of its front page of 200 years past, the paper would like its readers to check on goings on aboard the French leviathan.

Happily, we find the guests not employing their ship, one of six French vessels that turned up for the event, as a Greek might a wooden horse.

But simply hear from Jacques Mazars, the Vice-Admiral of the French fleet, who says: “If you are invited to your cousin’s wedding you wear your best dress; that’s what we have done.”

Quite so. And so much the wiser of him to have worn his party dress beneath the uniform his post merits as he celebrates what he terms “the great brotherhood of the sea”.

To say nothing of a resounding British victory. Ok, not nothing, but very little, as Mazars says how defeat did not worry Napoleon because he was much more “land minded”.

“Remember that in the same year as Trafalgar,” says Mazar, “he won the battle of Austerlitz.”

Battle of..? Don’t know that one. Although our research tells us that Austerlitz is a station in Paris? And the daily commute to and from it is something of a free for all…’

Posted: 29th, June 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink