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Important TRAFALGAR Corkscrew - Great Historical Interest

Listing # 25023
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Listing Format: Auction
Current price : (GBP) £300.00
(USD) $415.51
# of bids: 0
Closes: Auction is closed
Location: Dorset
Started: 4/12/2019 EDT
Ended: 4/21/2019 1:18:00 PM EDT
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Click on a picture to enlarge or download file. Important TRAFALGAR Corkscrew - Great Historical Interest Important TRAFALGAR Corkscrew - Great Historical Interest Important TRAFALGAR Corkscrew - Great Historical Interest Important TRAFALGAR Corkscrew - Great Historical Interest


The penknife is marked LT COL FYNMORE – TRAFALGAR and has two blades, wire breaker and corkscrew. It is also marked GREEN on the tang. Estimated date of penknife 1874-1887. Length 4 inches.


Historical information on corkscrew owners is rarely found but in this case it is very detailed. Lt Colonel Fynmore was the youngest person at Trafalgar sailing on HMS Africa which fought with great gallantry suffering significant loss of life and damage to the ship. The full story is told below.




Lieutenant Colonel James Fynmore


Born in 1793 was taken on board HMS Africa in 1805 at the age of 12 as a first class volunteer by his father, an officer in the Royal Marines. He survived the battle of Trafalgar and joined the Royal Marines in 1808 serving in the regiment for 40 years before retiring. He received the medal of Trafalgar in 1948. Died in 1887 aged 91 and was probably the last survivor of Trafalgar and certainly the last surviving officer.


Pictures of Lieutenant Colonel Fynmore and other officers held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich are attached.






Captain James Fynmore


Father of Lieutenant James Fynmore he served in the Royal Marines at Trafalgar where he was wounded in the hand. Paid £50 for his injury


Captain Henry Digby


Promoted to  Captain in December 1796, Digby established a reputation as an aggressive prize taker, capturing 57 ships in less than twenty months. His richest capture came in October 1799 when he assisted in the taking of the treasure ship, the Santa Brigida. He commanded HMS Africa at the Battle of Trafalgar, the smallest ship of the fleet, manoeuvring her into the French and Spanish fleet against orders, having been instructed by Nelson to avoid battle, fearing Digby's small ship of the line would be overwhelmed.


The Africa was also a poor sailor, and on the morning of the battle, as a result of bad weather had a missed signal during the night, Digby found his ship far off station to the north and was thus very isolated. Nelson saw the predicament and sent a signal instructing Digby to "Make all sail", intending him to pull back from the enemy rather than risk being overwhelmed as there were ten enemy ships between Africa and the British fleet, all larger than Africa in size.


Digby indignantly received the order and then deliberately misinterpreted it as an instruction to close with the British fleet to the south, and so weaved between the advancing enemy, engaging each in turn with both broadsides before reaching the melee surrounding the enormous Spanish flagship, the 130 gun Santissima Trinadad and largest ship. Believing that she had surrendered, Digby dispatched his first lieutenant, John Smith, on board to take the surrender. Smith and his party actually reached the Spanish quarterdeck unmolested before realising that the ship was still fighting. Fortunately in that chivalrous age the Spanish admiral allowed Smith's party to return to their boat unharmed.Sailing south from the battle, Africa encountered the Interpide and fought her continuously for 40 minutes until HMS Orion arrived and the French ship surrendered as she was outnumbered.In this fight Africa was very badly damaged and lost 62 men killed or wounded, including most of her officers. 12 sailors and 6 marines were killed along with 44 wounded. This was the highest numbers of casualties of all the English ships.


The HMS Africa was so badly damaged that it lost all its masts and suffered damage to the hull. It was then towed back into port after nearly floundering in the terrible storm that followed the battle.


Lord Nelson expressed great satisfaction at the gallant manner in which the Africa attacked enemy's line.









The penknife is typical of penknives from the 19th century that have been used with wear and use marks.It is complete and the blades have some snap to them.

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