Nelson famously signalled the Battle of Trafalgar with the words: 'England expects that every man will do his duty'. But of the 18,000 sailors fighting for King and Country, 1,400 were not British, with 25 different nationalities in all press-ganged into serving the British King. By analysing the records of warship HMS Bellerophon, this fresh and action-packed account of the famous day reveals their fascinating story.
Documentary evidence proves the Navy recruited hundreds of black sailors, many of them ex-slaves from the West Indies and America. For many, the Royal Navy was the world's first equal opportunities employer, offering freedom, equal pay, and the chance for life-changing promotion.
This film pays tribute to the diverse nationalities that sailed on 21 October 1805, united not by patriotism, but by a unique opportunity for performance-related pay. The Admiralty promised every man at Trafalgar - irrespective of race, creed or colour - a fair share of any captured enemy ships. If they defeated the entire Combined Fleet, even the humblest sailor might become the equivalent of a millionaire.
Between these brave foreigners and a potential fortune, stood the bloodiest battle in naval history, a great storm and the mortal danger of fire, drowning or shipwreck.