Fragment of flag Nelson flew at Trafalgar to go up for auction

LONDON (Reuters) - A piece of the Union Jack flag believed to have been flown from British military leader Lord Horatio Nelson’s ship during the Battle of Trafalgar is to be auctioned in London later this month.

The item is part of a collection of Nelson memorabilia that is up for sale, which includes weapons, his “grog chest” and personal letters. It features in a sale of Royal and aristocratic heirlooms being held by auction house Sotheby’s.

The 86 cm by 92 cm flag fragment (34 inches by 36 inches), dubbed “The Victory Jack”, has an estimated price of between 80,000 and 100,000 pounds. ($108,000-$135,000)

“The flag has a wonderful story,” Gabriel Heaton, specialist for books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s told Reuters.

“It was used as part of the great ceremonial funeral of Nelson after his death at the battle. And pieces of it were broken up and kept by the loyal sailors who had lost their very, very deeply loved commander.”

The last surviving complete Union Jack flag flown at the battle fetched 384,000 pounds in 2009, more than twenty times its estimated price.

The battle of Trafalgar was a naval clash that took place in 1805, and saw the British defeat a numerically superior French and Spanish fleet. Nelson was fatally wounded during the battle, which cemented his status as a national hero in Britain.

Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Peter Graff