HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, may be given away by the Ministry of Defence.

HMS Victory, Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar, may be given away by the Ministry of Defence. The 243-year-old ship is expensive to maintain, says the MoD, and increasing budgetary pressures mean that her future must be reviewed like that of any other ship.

Options being considered include handing Victory over to a private company, to a charitable trust, to another government department, or leaving things as they are. Victory is still a commissioned warship, and several of her former commanding officers have slammed the proposals.

“If they sell her or give her away to charity it will be an absolute tragedy”, said one, while another said it would make a mockery of Portsmouth’s naval heritage.