Talk:England expects that every man will do his duty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Featured article England expects that every man will do his duty is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on October 21, 2005.
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Military history (Rated FA-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions. Featured
Featured article FA This article has been rated as FA-Class on the quality assessment scale.
WikiProject Heraldry and vexillology (Rated FA-class)
WikiProject icon England expects that every man will do his duty is within the scope of the Heraldry and vexillology WikiProject, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's coverage of heraldry and vexillology. If you would like to participate, you can visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks.
Featured article FA  This article has been rated as FA-Class on the project's quality scale.
Note icon
This was a selected article on the Heraldry and Vexillology Portal for March 2008.
Version 0.5      (Rated FA-Class)
Peer review This History article has been selected for Version 0.5 and subsequent release versions of Wikipedia. It has been rated FA-Class on the assessment scale.
WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles that are spoken on Wikipedia.

Merge with Battle of Trafalgar?[edit]

This belongs under Battle_of_Trafalgar rather than having a separate article of its own.-- 23:32, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree. It's good material, but completely misplaced as a standalone article. It should be part of either the Battle of Trafalgar article or the Nelson one. Unless I'm mistaken, Wikipedia is not an encyclopedia of quotations. -Eric (talk) 15:30, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
It's clearly covering much more than the quotation, and is too comprehensive to fit in either the Trafalgar or Nelson article without unbalancing either of them, aside from the fact it would need to be duplicated in both of them as it clearly doesn't belong exclusively in one or the other. Summary style covers it both these articles currently. To cap it off, it is a featured article and merging it would mean losing that status as the merge target is no longer featured. Yomanganitalk 16:01, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
This is not just a quotation - it is an article about the phrase, how it came about, and subsequent use and national meaning in the UK. It would be too long to be dropped into Battle_of_Trafalgar - putting more detailed information in a daughter article is the essence of Wikipedia:Summary style. What would you do with Ich bin ein Berliner or I Have a Dream or the other contents of Category:Phrases? -- ALoan (Talk) 16:02, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Yomangani, you wouldn't have to duplicate the piece in both articles, you could just link from one to the other. Aloan, I see your point about the other famous quotations, but I would still expect to find them in an article about the person who said them, not as a separate encyclopedia entry. But from what you both say, it looks like the daughter article concept applies, though it's not how I would structure a reference work. I'm a newcomer to Wikipedia, so maybe I'll warm up to this approach one day. -Eric (talk) 16:30, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, the idea is that each of Battle of Trafalgar and Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson (and indeed John Pasco) would discuss the phrase so far as it is relevant to those articles, with a link here, and this one can go on at more length than any of them. Where there is an overlap between articles, and enough to say on each of them, it often makes sense to summarise one in the other, rather than merging them together. -- ALoan (Talk) 16:37, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your willingness to give the approach a try, Eric. The summary style guidance explains this approach, which allows one daughter article to contain all the detail rather than having to keep several articles up to date with the same information, and also means that the more general articles are kept concise and readable Any problems with removing the merge tag now? .. dave souza, talk 19:48, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Without wishing to seem impatient, it seems a bid daft having the tag on a featured article, so I've removed it now. .. dave souza, talk 21:28, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Dave and all. That makes senses to me. Though I don't think we'd have to repeat the piece in multiple articles, I see that if the piece kept being expanded upon, it would become ungainly within the Nelson article.
And no, you weren't being impatient--thanks for pulling the tag. I was out watching Comet McNaught. -Eric (talk) 22:46, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


How does one go about recommending a user be banned? has been editing highly visible articles with images of penises, and has done so on this one more than once. Impaciente 00:31, 21 October 2005 (UTC)


Battle_of_Trafalgar says the signal was sent at 11:50. This article says 11:15 am.

I expect a wikipedian, more familiar with this historical event, will perform the edit.Neoncow 21:40, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Noel Coward[edit]

Not sure if something like this belongs in the article, but "England expects..." passed into the language to such a degree as to be played on by Noel Coward. [1]

Kiss me Hardy[edit]

Kiss me Hardy. Or Kismet? Mintguy (T) 18:19, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"Kiss me." Three officers present on the quarterdeck at Nelson's death wrote accounts, according to [2], [3]. The "Kismet" myth arose later. Gdr 22:52, 2004 Aug 31 (UTC)


No references and too short. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus 12:58, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Where can I find the full Popham Code of 3000 words?[edit]

Where can I find the full Popham Code of 3000 words?

I can't find it using Google, any ideas? Thanks Pete Wood

Couldn't find it either, but someone must have translated the "England expects..." for Wiki, perhaps that person can provide more info. The Wiki link only shows translation to numerals. Jimaginator 17:36, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

As of today, is a copy, as is -- (talk) 07:44, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

"Nelson Confides..."[edit]

I was previously under the impression that the original version of the signal began 'Nelson Confides' as opposed to 'England Confides', prior to being altered to 'England Expects'. I live quite close to Portsmouth, where the current home of the Victory is, and have visited the ship on various occasions, and I think that on guided tours of the ship/exhibits etc. at the Portsmouth Historic Dorkyards, I have heard/read that the original version was 'Nelson Confides'.

Can anyone else clarify this, as to which version is correct? Tom A Smith 16:21, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

It seems unlikely, since there isn't any Popham code for "Nelson", to my knowledge. So even if it was planned as that, it's not hard to see why it would have been changed to the three-flag code "England". Slac speak up! 21:11, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

I have heard the same, and the fact that the Popham code had no predefined code for "Nelson" nor for "Confides" is the reason why it ended up being "England expects". The version is rather credible, it is normal that a leader close to their men as a show of confidence and camaradery bofore a critical battle would consider make the message personal, but then again, the Royal Navy was not famous for camaradery so we might never know.


I believe its noteworthy to say that one of the greatest admirals Brazil has had, Almirante Barroso, is credited with the sentence "Brazil expects that every man will do his duty", credited to him in 11JUN1867... no coincidence that Brazil´s Navy is built entirely in mimickery of England´s...


I love the timing of this article feature . . . kudos to whoever had that idea :). Slac speak up! 21:12, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

...Thanks :) →Raul654 07:51, 22 October 2005 (UTC)


What in God's name does this mean: "Sophocles's Antigone contains numerous repetitions of Nelson's message, including several that are deliberately fragmented or misquoted. Nelson, and the statue of him in a Dublin square, were viewed by the Irish as symbols of British oppression"???????

And why does the 'Antigone' bit link to Joyce's Ulysses? Presumably the entire sentence refers to Joyce?

England expects..[edit]

I've added a clarification that at the time England commonly meant the UK, and that the other constituent countries contributed: see the claim that Five of Nelson’s 27 captains of the Fleet were Scottish as were almost 30% of the crew, as well as the Ayshford Trafalgar Roll referring to place of recruitment as English (53 per cent), Irish (21 per cent), Scots seven per cent, although many more may have been recruited in England. Roughly similar proportions are reported in Nelson's crew, and the crew list of the Minotaur shows a mix of birthplaces. On a side note, there's a claim that the first Nelson monument was in Scotland. The "not all English" point's probably worth noting on other related articles. ...dave souza, talk 09:35, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

A challenge![edit]

Can anyone rise to the challenge to do an article similar to this one, but on a different famous phrase? Say, He blew with His winds, and they were scattered? (It's the Spanish Armada.) Carcharoth 01:01, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

"England" for "Britain"[edit]

This link purports to be Admiral Pophams Telegrap Signal Book 1806. It includes codes "253. England. English." and "1419. Ireland. Irish." but none for "Scotland" or "Britain". This is relevant, so if a citable source can be found it should be added. I wonder when "Britain" was first explicitly coded. jnestorius(talk) 13:06, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

"Moreover, in the alphabet of that time V preceded U" -- really?[edit]

The article currently makes the claim that "Moreover, in the alphabet of that time V preceded U." I can find no evidence for this; Noah Webster's spelling book from 1800 has the letters in the normal order: I assume this is idiosyncratic to the flag code, and will provisionally edit the article on that basis with a citation needed flag. -- (talk) 07:24, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Weighted with lead?[edit]

The only reference I can find in the citations for this "weighted with lead" claim about the codebooks is in citation 15, which really does not read like a reliable reference (note that it gets the order of U and V wrong, among other things) -- and what it says is that "The code-book should have been kept in a bag weighted with lead that would be thrown overboard before a ship was captured," which sounds as much like editorializing on what the Royal Navy should have done as it does a reference to what the actual procedures were. (But see -- it was standard practice for some navies.) -- (talk) 07:53, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

File:England Expects Signal.svg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:England Expects Signal.svg will be appearing as picture of the day on October 21, 2013. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2013-10-21. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 23:00, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Picture of the day
England expects that every man will do his duty

"England expects that every man will do his duty", here represented with Popham's "Telegraphic Signals of Marine Vocabulary", was a signal sent by Royal Navy Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence on 21 October 1805. The English victory over Napoleon's forces in the battle removed all possibility of a French invasion and conquest of Britain.

Drawing: Ipankonin
ArchiveMore featured pictures...

Incorrect incorrect version[edit]

Until I edited it just now, the article said:

Almost immediately, the signal began to be misquoted. A number of ships in the fleet recorded the signal as "England expects every man to do his duty," (omitting "that" and replacing "will" with "to"). This version became so prevalent that it is recorded around the base of Nelson's Column and on his tomb in St. Paul's Cathedral.

and cited, which does say just that.

However, the article also includes a photo File:Pedestal-nelson-column-trafalgar-london-uk.jpg that plainly shows the Nelson's Column inscription with a third version of the wording, using "will" but not "to". Therefore, that this source is dubious. Perhaps it is right for St. Paul's but wrong for Nelson's Column; or perhaps it is wrong for both.

Looking for other online imagery showing the actual inscription at St. Paul's, the only thing I could find is this page which shows a photo of the tomb, and a photo depicting Nelson's signal (with incorrect wording). The page appears to say that this image is part of the floor surrounding the tomb, but if it is, you can't tell that from the photo. If it is a true image of the floor of St. Paul's, then the wording at St. Paul's also has "will".

I figure this is a situation where the use of a primary source is appropriate: is anyone reading this in a position to go to St. Paul's and see for themselves what it says there?

Until this is straightened out, I've adjusted the sentence to read:

This version became so prevalent that it is recorded on his tomb in St. Paul's Cathedral.[better source needed] The word "that" is also omitted on the version around the base of Nelson's Column, as seen in the photo above.

(with the reference left in place.)

-- (talk) 17:49, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

timing of signal[edit]

I question "... and logs would have been written up after the battle" in the article. I have read the relevant section of the log of HMS Euryalus on a number of occasions, and it certainly looks like something written up during a battle - there is hastily blotted up ink spilt on the page and it is nothing like a fair copy. (Incidentally, from memory Euryalus timed the message at 11:56. After the signal, it goes on to say "At noon light winds.....".) Is there any evidence that some of the log books were written up after the battle? If not, this should be deleted.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 11:26, 7 January 2015 (UTC)