The flags hung from the monument spell out the
message as it is likely to have been sent by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, reading down
each rope from right to left: "England expects that every man will do his
This message used the 'Marine Vocabulary' and
a set of flags, hoisted in twelve lifts, each lift consisting of
three or less flags, to send the message.
- 1st lift: Three flags, for
No.253, the code for ENGLAND
- 2nd lift: Three flags, for No.
269, the code for EXPECTS
However, the 'Marine Vocabulary' did not have
a code for DUTY, so the last four lifts were:
- 9th lift: Flag
for No.4 for D, the 4th letter
- 10th lift: Two flags for No.21
for U, the 21st letter in the
- 11th lift: Two flags for No.19
- 12th lift: Two flags for No.24
In fact, the code was not quite as simple as above. This page
on the Archives & Collections Society web site gives fuller details
flags used. These included the use of some substitute
- how the numbers were allocated to
letters of the alphabet.