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06. Norwich Duff
Arms: Vert a fess dancetty Ermine between a stag's head cabossed in chief and two escallops in base Or; on a chief wavy Ermine the Trafalgar medal Or, pendant by a ribbom Azure, Argent, Azure, between wreaths of cypress and laurel with the word "Trafalgar" under the medal.

Crests:
[1] A demi lion rampant, holding in his dexter paw a sword Proper hilted and pommelled Or.
Motto: Virtute et Opera

[2] Out of a naval crown Or, inscribed with the word Mars a ship of war's mast with the pendant half-mast, all encircled with a wreath of laurel Proper.
Motto: Cypress Honores Peperit.

SOURCES, NOTES & CREDITS: “The Double Tressure”, 2005, No. 28, The article “Nelson’s Captains” by the late Peter Drummond-Murray of Mastrick on pages 52-54 for background and the Wikipedia articles on Norwich Duff and his father George Duff for background and text adaption.

Norwich Duff(15 Aug 1792 - 21 Apr 1862 ) eventually Vice-Admiral Norwich Duff, FRSE was a British Navy officer. Unique among Peter Drummond-Murray's "Nelson's Captains" he was not actually one of the captains at Trafalgar but was a Midshipman rated as an Able Seaman. Only due to the fact that he was then the just 13 year old son of his Captain of the HMS Mars and his father, George Duff, that he is included in this group.

Here we quote at length Peter Drummond-Murray's own words regarding Norwich Duff and Trafalgar.


The Mars was the third ship in the column led by Collingwood and so arrived early in the battle as Collingwood's column broke the line of the Combined Fleet earlier than did Nelson's. She immediately engaged the French Pluton both ships having 71 guns. The Pluton brought down all of her rigging and the Fougeux completed the damage with a devastating broadside that killed her Captain, George Duff. Despite being completely disabled the Mars refused to surrender.

George Duff, who had fought under Lord Rodney at the Battle of the Saints in 1782, was the son of James Duff, Sherif Clerk of Banff, who was next brother of John Duff of Hatton. This is another example of a well connected Scot in Nelson's Navy. As George Duff was dead he was in no positionto apply for an augmentation to his arms. Amongst his effects was a hastily scribbled letter to his wife Sophia.

"My Dearest Sophia,

I have just time to tell you we are going into action with the combined fleet. I hope and trust in God that we shall all behave as becomes us, and that I may yet have the happiness of taking my beloved wife and children in my arms. Norwich is quite well and happy. I have however, ordered him off the quarterdeck.

Yours ever and most truly, George Duff.

As was common practice for a young boy officer Norwich Duff was rated as an able seaman. He was the son of George Duff and just thirteen years of age. His letter to his mother informing her of his father's death starts:

"My Dear Mamma, You cannot possibly imagine how unwilling I am to commence this
melancholy letter … He died like a hero, having gallantly led his ship into action, and his memory will ever be dear to his king, his country and his friends."

and concludes:
Believe me your affectionate and obedient son, N. Duff.

Norwich Duff ended his career as a Vice-Admiral and descendants still exist though the male line is recently extinct. He was an A.D.C. to Queen Victoria. When he was a Captain he matriculated Arms in the Public Register of all Arms and Bearings in Scotland, ( Volume 3, folio 74 ) in 1829.

All the other augmentations, even to Scotsmen such as the Earl of Northesk, were granted within a year or two of the battle, at the College of Arms. For these reasons this one seems to have been overlooked by writers on the subject.

The artwork is an interpretation of Mark D. Dennis done for the 2005 "Double Tressure" Article and used with permission.

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DuffNorwich.jpg BorbonLindsay3.jpg 2020_0311_004__Duff_54.jpg Burns_supper_2022.jpg 2020_0311_003_Collingwood_51.jpg
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