Bloody Foreigners (2010): S01E01 – The Untold Battle of Trafalgar


Bloody Foreigners is a four-part series of drama-documentaries highlighting the role played by foreigners at iconic moments and crucial turning points in British history.


Nelson famously signalled the Battle of Trafalgar with the words: ‘England expects that every man will do his duty’. However, of the 18,000 sailors fighting for King and Country, 1,400 of them were not British, with 25 different nationalities in all press-ganged into serving the British King. By analysing the records of warship HMS Bellerophon, this fresh and action-packed account of the famous day reveals their fascinating story.

Documented evidence proves the Navy recruited hundreds of men from all over the world including black sailors, many of them ex-slaves from the West Indies and America. For many, the Royal Navy was the world’s first equal opportunities employer, offering freedom, equal pay, and the chance for life-changing promotion.

This film pays tribute to the diverse nationalities that sailed on 21 October 1805 – united not by patriotism, but by a unique opportunity for performance-related pay. The Admiralty promised every man at Trafalgar – irrespective of race, creed or colour – a fair share of any captured enemy ships. If they defeated the entire Combined Fleet, even the humblest sailor might become the equivalent of a millionaire.

Between these brave foreigners and a potential fortune, stood the bloodiest battle in naval history, a great storm and the mortal danger of fire, drowning or shipwreck.

Bloody Foreigners Series

You can find a full index and overview of Bloody Foreigners here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 28 June 2010.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes (per episode).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

Video Link(s)

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