Segments in this Video

Admiral Horatio Nelson (01:25)


The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, celebrates Britain's seafaring heritage. Curator Quintin Colville discusses the importance of Admiral Horatio Nelson to this history, including his final victory and death during the Battle of Trafalgar.

The Battle of Trafalgar (02:16)

Naval historian Sam Willis aboard Nelson's ship, HMS Victory, describes the battle and the fatal wound that killed Nelson. A French marksman claimed to have fired that fatal shot.

Reenactment of the Fatal Shot (03:41)

Sam Willis has enlisted the help of an artillery expert to test the french musket the marksman would have used. From the height and distance of a mizzen mast, the expert is able to replicate the shot that killed Nelson.

Russian Sea Mines Used During the Crimean War (03:03)

In the storerooms of Britain's National Maritime Museum, curator Robert Blyth reveals a powerful Russian sea mine recovered during the Crimean War. Royal Admiral Seymour was blinded by a recovered Russian sea mine filled with gun powder.

Replicating the Russian Sea Mine (03:46)

Chemist Sidney Alford, tries to replicate the conical sea mine to discover how it would detonate. He thinks a vial of sulfuric acid, when broken over some substance, would create a fire that detonated the gunpowder. The mystery of why the mine didn't kill Admiral Seymour remained.

The Secret of Captain Bligh's Bullet (02:02)

Curator Blyth describes the objects that belonged to Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty. After the mutiny, the Captain and 18 men were set adrift to cross the South Pacific in an open boat for 43 days. Long distance rower Chris Johnson comments.

Castaways on the Open Sea (03:10)

In Portsmouth, 19 men are tightly fitted into a boat the size afforded the castaways. A medical doctor notes the danger from the heat stroke and the meager rations, amounting to 200 calories daily per man.

Miserable Rations (02:38)

Captain Bligh used the musket ball to measure out the bread rations and the horn cup to measure the water. The Captain's strict discipline that incited the mutiny on the Bounty, saved the castaways on their perilous journey to the British colony of Timor.

Fighting Pirates in the Malacca Straits (01:37)

See the presentation sword awarded to Lt. Robert Gore of gunboat Andromache who fought against the pirates in the Malacca Straits in the 1830's. Pirates are as serious a threat today as ever.

How Do You Fight Pirates Today? (03:44)

In a Scottish Loch, Royal Marines prepare to fight Somali pirates in a simulation. Learn past and current pirate fighting strategies.

Lightning & Tall Ships (02:15)

When Napoleon's flagship caught fire during the invasion of Egypt, Admiral Nelson recovered and kept its strangely shaped lightning rod.

French Blunt Lightning Rod (03:50)

Warships made of wood and full of gunpowder were vulnerable to lightning. Investigators at the high voltage lab of the University at Manchester compare the French blunt lightning rod to Ben Franklin's sharp one, with inconclusive findings.

Sir John Franklin's Lost Arctic Expedition (02:54)

With a fit leader and modern outfitting, the expedition to find the Northwest Passage seemed sure of success, but after three years, the search for news of the lost expedition was on. See one of many communication balloons made from animal skins that were scattered in hopes of contacting the expidition.

Clues to Franklin's Lost Expedition (01:28)

Clues were found on Beechey Island with 3 graves, and with Inuit natives on King William Island. A cairn report alleged all going well 2 years into the expedition, but margin notes report the death of Franklin and the desperate plight of the remaining men.

Human Remains on Beechey Island (02:36)

In the 1980's a Canadian forensic anthropologist studied the human remains at Beechey Island. The mummies have signs of pneumonia and lead poisoning from tin cans. The human bones at a campsite showed evidence of cannibalism among survivors.

Credits: Inside the National Maritime Museum, London: Museum Secrets (Series 3) (00:58)

Credits: Inside the National Maritime Museum, London: Museum Secrets (Series 3)

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Inside the National Maritime Museum, London: Museum Secrets (Series 3)

Part of the Series : Museum Secrets (Series 3)
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The National Maritime Museum collection allows visitors to trace the origins of British sea power, its accomplishments in the age of empire, and its consequences in the world today. Inside the National Maritime Museum, London, we fire musket balls at Lord Nelson to discover who really killed him. We join an anti-piracy commando raid, then board Captain Bligh’s dingy to discover how he and his fellow castaways made it home alive. We search for Franklin’s lost arctic expedition, then find out how to survive a lightning strike at sea. And finally, we investigate how to defuse a mine without getting blown out of the water. A BBC Production. A part of the series Museum Secrets (Series 3).

Length: 43 minutes

Item#: BVL57628

ISBN: 978-0-81609-523-0

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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