The Battle of Trafalgar—A Mumbles Connection

by Carol Powell M.A.

Replica medal commemorating the battle of Trafalgar, 1805,

The original medals themselves were issued in 1848.

They were a variant of the Naval General Service Medal design.

On the Obverse it shows the Queen's head wearing diadem, hair tied behind. Legend: 'VICTORIA REGINA.' Exergue: 'TRAFALGAR.'

National Maritime Museum Collections

In October 2005, we commemorated the bicentenary of one of Britain’s greatest sea battles, when Lord Nelson’s fleet overcame those of Spain and France off Trafalgar and, as with so many national events there was a Mumbles connection.

On 3 August 1877, the Cambrian News reported the death of a Trafalgar veteran, Mr. John Peachey ‘in the 91st or some say, 95th year of his age.’ (The 1871 census gives his age as 84) ‘He was born in Bognor Regis and enlisted in the Navy when a boy and, after he had served his time, it was his fortune to be in the flag-ship, the Victory, with Nelson when that fearless sea-king received his death-wound.

He came out of that terrible conflict unwounded and was transferred to the Bellephon, the ‘Belly-ruffin’ of ballad poetry, where he held the position of Quarter-Master and which was the historic ship, which carried Napoleon to Plymouth Sound. At that time, English warships were not permitted to remain in port and so Peachey at one time had a spell of five years without setting foot on shore’.

On retiring from the Navy, he joined the Coast Guard and married Emily, a niece of the late Sir Charles Gray. By 1841, he and Emily had settled in Thistleboon in Mumbles and eventually produced twenty-one children, founding the large Peachey family, many of whose descendants still live in the locality, albeit some with names other than Peachey, as there were many daughters. One of his sons was Edwin Peachey, who later became the proprietor of the Livery stables in the Dunns and the father of six sons, Absalom, Ernest, Reginald, Jehu, Samuel and Herbert as well as several daughters.

‘At his funeral on 9 July 1877, the Coastguards on the Mumbles Station, in uniform, carried his body to the grave in the Parish Churchyard amid the respectful sympathy of his neighbours’.

His memorial stone is inscribed as follows:-

Sacred to the memory of John Peachey born 3 June 1786, died 6 July 1877. Also buried there were his children, Elizabeth, born 23 February 1834, died 16 June 1862; William born 6 may 1825, died at San Francisco, aged 52.


The Cambrian News, 3 August 1877

1841, 1851, 1861,1871 Censuses

All Saints Church Monumental Inscriptions index

National Maritime Museum Collections

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