Probably the most famous commander of the British Navy ever to have lived. Born in 1758 and died in 1805 after overseeing his most celebrated victory overcoming the combined French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar. He was wounded during the battle and died on board his ship, proverbially uttering the famous last words to his First Mate "Kiss Me, Hardy"

Nelson's body was returned to England and he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. He is commemorated with Trafalgar Square in London where his statue stands at the top of Nelson's Column, forever gazing towards the English Channel so as to spy the enemy approaching.

Horatio Nelson, (1758-1805), the most famous British admiral, whose brilliant seamanship twice broke the naval power of France. The son of a Norfolk rector, he entered the British navy at the age of 12 and became a captain at the age of 20. On the outbreak of war with France in 1793 he was given command of the battleship Agamemnon and served under Admiral Hood in the Mediterranean. He lost the sight of his right eye during a successful attack on Corsica in the following year. In 1797 he played a notable part in the defeat of the French and Spanish fleets at the battle of Cape St Vincent and was subsequently promoted rear-admiral. Later the same year he lost his right arm while unsuccessfully attempting to capture Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands. In 1798, after pursuing the French fleet in the eastern Mediterranean, he achieved a resounding victory at the battle of the Nile. While stationed at Naples he began his life-long love affair with Lady Emma Hamilton, the wife of the British ambassador there.

In 1801 Nelson was promoted vice-admiral and, ignoring a signal from his commander, Sir Hyde Parker (he held the telescope up to his blind eye and claimed not to be able to see the signal), defeated the Danish fleet at the battle of Copenhagen. Following this engagement he was created a viscount. In 1803, after the renewal of war with France, Nelson was given command of the Mediterranean and for two years blockaded the French fleet at Toulon. When it escaped he gave chase across the Atlantic and back, finally bringing the united French and Spanish fleets to battle at Trafalgar in 1805. This decisive victory, in which Nelson was mortally wounded, saved Britain from the threat of invasion by Napoleon.

Viscount Horatio Nelson:

"I have always been a quarter of an hour before my time, and it has made a man of me."

TIMELINE OF NELSON'S LIFE

1758
29 SEPTEMBER
Nelson born at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk.

1767
DECEMBER
Death of Nelson's mother.

1771
MARCH
Joins the Raisonable at Chatham, then the Triumph.
Voyages to the West Indies in a merchantman.

1773
APRIL-OCTOBER
Arctic expedition in Carcass; then to India in Seahorse (-Sept. 1776)

1777
APRIL
Passes for Lieutenant.
Appointed to Lowestoft for West Indies.

1778
DECEMBER
Promoted commander of Badger.

1779
Promoted post-captain in Hitchinbroke.

1780
JANUARY-APRIL
Naval commander of San Juan. Expedition up-river, Nicaragua.
Returns sick to England.

1781
AUGUST
Expedition in Albemarle: North Sea, America and West Indies (-July 1783).

1784
MARCH
Marries Frances Nisbet on island of Nevis.
DECEMBER
Returns to England: five years at home.

1793
Appointed Captain of Agamemnon.
Serves in Toulon and Mediterranean.
Meets the Hamiltons at Naples.

1794
JULY
Loses sight of right eye at Calvi, Corsica.

1797
FEBRUARY
Battle of Cape St. Vincent
Knighted and Promoted Rear-Admiral of the Blue.
JULY
Loses right arm in attack on Tenerife.

1798
1 AUGUST
Battle of the Nile: wounded.
Created Baron Nelson of the Nile and Burnham Thorpe.
DECEMBER
Evacuates Neapolitan Royal Family to Palermo, Sicily.

1799
FEBRUARY
Promoted Rear-Admiral of the Red.
JUNE
Supports savage Royalist recapture of Naples.
Created Duke of Bronte*.
Growing scandal of affair with Emma Hamilton.

1800
JUNE-NOVEMBER
Returns to England overland with the Hamiltons.

1801
JANUARY
Promoted Vice-Admiral of the Blue.
Seperates from wife.
Nelson's and Emma Hamilton's daughter, Horatia, born.
2 APRIL
Battle of Copenhagen.
Created Viscount Nelson.

1803
APRIL
Commander in Chief of Mediterranean fleet.

1804
Promoted Vice-Admiral of the White.

1805
MARCH-JULY
Pursuit of combined Franco-Spanish fleet to West Indies and back.
21 OCTOBER
Battle of Trafalgar.
Nelson shot by French sniper on Redoutable and taken below decks.
Nelson dies at around 4.30pm.**

1806
JANUARY
Nelson's body lies in state in Greenwich Hospital.
8 JANUARY
Nelson's body leaves Greenwich Hospital by river for Whitehall.
9 JANUARY
Admiral Lord Nelson buried in St Paul's Cathedral.

The plate on his coffin read as follows:

Depositum
Lord Horatio Nelson
Viscount and Baron Nelson of the Nile, and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk
Baron Nelson of the Nile, and of Hilborough in the said County
Knight of the most honourable Order of the Bath
Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet
Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean
Duke of Bronte in Sicily
Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit
Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent
Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim
Born 29th September 1758
After a series of transcendant and heroic services, this gallant admiral fell, gloriously, in the
moment of brilliant and decisive Victory over the Combined Fleets of France and Spain,
off
Cape Trafalgar, on
21st October 1805.

* The title "Duke of Bronte" was created specially for Nelson by Ferdinand, the King of the Two Sicilies, for the help given in suppressing the uprising in Naples. Nelson was very proud of this title, which translates as "Duke of Thunder", and delighted Lady Hamilton who took to calling Nelson "my Lord Thunder".

** Famous last words: Nelson spoke his last to the captain of the Victory, Thomas Hardy; reported as 'Kismet, Hardy', although these words are a matter of some debate. Nelson had also told Blackwood, a captain of a frigate, earlier in the day: 'Goodbye, Blackwood, we shall never meet again'.

Information pertaining to the "Bronte" title adapted from www.aboutnelson.co.uk., which also contains incredibly detailed information on everything possibly associated with Nelson.

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