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Horatio Nelson
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Burnham Market, Norfolk
Born on 29th of September 1758
Died on 21st of October 1805

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Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson was born 29th September 1758 and died 21st October 1805. He was a British naval commander and national hero, most famous for his naval victories against the French in the Napoleonic Wars. He was born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk , the sixth of 11 children of the Reverand Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine. Nelson was briefly educated at Paston Grammar School, North Walsham before attending Norwich School and then enrolling in the Royal Navy, aged 12. His naval career began on board the HMS Raisonnable, under the command of his uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, who appointed him midshipman and began his officer training. Ironically Nelson then discovered that he suffered from seasickness, and continued to do so for the rest of his life. By 1777 he was a Lieutenant and assigned to the West Indies where he saw action during the American War of Independence. He became a Captain aged 20, and saw service in the West Indies, Baltic and Canada. Whilst sequestered on board his ship, Boreas in Nevis for illegal seizure, Nelson met Frances 'Fanny' Nisbet, a widow native to Nevis. The couple were married in March 1787. He returned to England with his bride, eventually settling back in Burnham Thorpe in 1788. He was to spend the next 5 years on half-pay and the lack of a command, due to there being too few ships during peacetime. However, when Britain entered the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, Nelson was given command of HMS Agamemnon. He served in the Mediterranean, helping to capture Corsica in 1794. During an assault on Calvi in 1745 a shot hit a sandbag, spraying Nelson with sand and stones which resulted in him losing the sight in his right eye. As a commander he was known for bold action and the occasional disregard of orders from his seniors. This defiance, however, brought him victories against the Spanish off Cape Vincent in 1797. He would later lose his right arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797, returning to issue orders to his captains just half an hour after its amputation. He returned to Britain a national hero, even though the English had met with defeat. He spent the last months of 1797 recuperating in London and was awarded the freedom scroll to the City of London and an annual pension of 1,000 a year. He used the money to buy Round Wood Farm, near Ipswich , and intended to retire there with Fanny. However, he never actually lived there and in March 1798 set sail for Cadiz in a reconnaisance trip to hunt the French. The trip resulted in the British victory at the Battle of the Nile, blocking Napoleon's bid for a direct trade route to India. Nelson was again injured, this time in his good eye. For this victory, Nelson was granted the title of Baron Nelson of the Nile, although he felt he should have been awarded a more prestigious title. Nelson's next posting took him to Naples where he met and fell in love with Emma, Lady Hamilton and wife of Sir William Hamilton, British Envoy to Naples. Although they remained in their respective marriages, Nelson and Emma Hamilton considered each other soul-mates and had a child together, named Horatia, in 1801. Earlier that same year Nelson was promoted to Vice-Admiral, and at the Battle of Copenhagen in April of 1801, he ignored orders to cease action by putting his telescope to his blind eye and claiming he couldn't see the signal to withdraw. His action was approved in retrospect following a successful battle outcome, and he was appointed Viscount Nelson of the Nile and the County of Norfolk. Over the period 1794 to 1805, the Royal Navy, under Nelson's leadership, proved its supremacy over the French. Nelson's most famous engagement, at Cape Trafalgar, saved Britain from threat of invasion by Napoleon. Before the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805, Nelson sent out the famous signal to his fleet, "England expects that every man will do his duty." He was killed by a French sniper a few hours later whilst leading the attack on the combined French and Spanish fleet. HMS Victory's Captain, Thomas Hardy went below deck to inform the dying Nelson that the enemy ships were surrendering, and after reminding him to take care of Lady Hamilton, Nelson muttered the immortal words, "Kiss me, Hardy". Nelson's body was preserved in a cask of brandy and transported back to England under The Victory's mainmast. He was given a state funeral and was laid to rest within a sarcophagus at St. Paul's Cathedral .

Links:
internal link National Maritime Museum
internal link Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - resting place of HMS Victory
internal link Buried Here

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On the road from the City of Skepticism, I had to pass through the Valley of Ambiguity. - Adam Smith
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On this day:
Battle of Poitiers - 1356, Great Plague of London at its Height - 1665, 'Lord Haw-Haw' sentenced to death - 1945, First Traffic Wardens in London - 1960, First Glastonbury - 1970, First Episode of Fawlty Towers - 1975, Murder of Carl Bridgewater - 1978, Southall Train Crash - 1997
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