Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1758 – 1805 *** Full Name: Horatio Nelson *** Occupation: A British Flag Officer in the Royal Navy *** Date of Birth: Horatio Nelson was born on September 29th 1758 *** Place of Birth: Horatio Nelson was born in a rectory in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk in England *** Family background: His father was Reverend Edmund Nelson and his mother was Catherine Suckling. On his paternal side, Horatio Nelson was related to 1st Earl of Orford, Robert Walpole who became the first de facto Prime Minister of Great Britain *** Early life and childhood: Horatio Nelson grew up with seven siblings. His mother died when he was just nine years of age leaving his father to care for, look after and educate all of his children *** Education: Horatio Nelson went to the Paston Grammar School in North Walsham and thereafter attended King Edward VI’s Grammar School in Norwich ***
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 1: Horatio Nelson was born on September 29th 1758 and during the 18th century period in history when the French Revolution took place, the Ottoman Empire went in a decline and Great Britain became a major power around the globe.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 2: When he had completed his schooling, Horatio Nelson asked his father to request of his maternal uncle that had offered assistance when one of the boys was old enough, to be allowed to join him. His uncle Captain Maurice Sucking agreed and Horatio joined him on aboard his vessel HMS Raisonnable on January 1st 1771 as an ordinary seaman.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 3: Not long after boarding Horatio Nelson was given the appointment of midshipman and would begin his officer training. His only big problem was discovering he suffered from seasickness, a condition he would have to live the rest of his life suffering from.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 4: Horatio Nelson would spend the next year travelling to Jamaica and Tobago before returning to England and then travel across the Atlantic twice before rejoining his uncle’s ship.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 5: In 1773 Nelson sailed for the East Indies where they acted as escorts for the merchant ships. By 1775 the Seahorse was sent to take a cargo of the East India Company’s money on safe passage to Bombay. It was during this voyage that Nelson first saw battle when the Seahorse was fired upon.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 6: In 1775 Nelson also received a promotion to the position of acting lieutenant and was posted aboard HMS Worcester which was heading for Gibraltar. Having passed his lieutenants exam Nelson was next posted to the HMS Lowestoffe and headed to Jamaica.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 7: When the American War of Independence broke out one of the prizes Lowestoffe captured was Little Lucy. Nelson requested command of Little Lucy and his request was granted.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 8: As a result of his success Nelson was recommended to Sir Peter Parker, then commander-in-chief in Jamaica and he was posted to the flagship HMS Bristol. The French then entered the conflict in America on the side of the Americans and Parker’s fleet was very busy.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 9: In August of 1781 Nelson was given orders to take command of the HMS Albermarle and to proceed to intercept the Russia Company convoy at Elsinore and accompany them to England.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 10: By 1784 Horatio Nelson was given command of HMS Boreas, a frigate and sent to Antigua to enforce the Navigation Acts. While on this assignment he met and then married Frances “Fanny” Nisbet and in 1787 there were back in Britain.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 11: On half pay because Horatio Nelson was without a command, the couple made their home in Burnham Thorpe while Nelson was simultaneously trying to persuade the Admiralty to assign him another vessel.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 12: The Austrian Netherlands were annexed by the French revolutionary government and Nelson was recalled to duty and given command of the HMS Agamemnon, a 64-gun vessel in January of 1793. In February France declared war.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 13: Later in the year Nelson was assigned to Corsica. While participating in battle there he received an injury in his right eye that culminated in him losing sight in that eye.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 14: Horatio Nelson took part in a succession of battles thereafter including the Battle of Cape St Vincent, action off Cádiz, the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 15: During this battle he sustained another injury to his shoulder, as he attempted to lead his men ashore he was shot with a musketball which fractured his humerus in several places in his right arm. He was immediately taken back to his ship to be tended and refused to be assisted asserting “Let me alone! I have got my legs left and one arm.”.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 16: Shortly after that, the shattered arm was removed by the ships surgeon, Thomas Eshelby and within the hour he was issuing orders again. Although this conflict would not end in their favor, Nelson nevertheless received a hero’s welcome upon his return to England.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 17: He recovered from his injury and began badgering the Admiralty for another command. Napoleon was causing concern for the British and was gathering forces in the South of France. Nelson, aboard the HMS Vanguard was sent to Cádiz.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 18: On the hunt for Napoleon, Nelson sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar searching along the French and then Italian coastlines. In the meantime Napoleon had landed in Malta but by the time Nelson arrived he had already left. After a discussion with his captains it was decided to head for Egypt thinking Napoleon may be heading there, but on arrival there was no sight of the French fleet.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 19: Horatio Nelson at that point headed back across the Mediterranean and made for Naples to take on fresh provisions. Having left Naples, Nelson decided on one more pass by Alexandria and in doing so captured a French merchant vessel that gave them the information that the French fleet were indeed heading for Alexandria.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 20: The French fleet were indeed in Alexandria when Nelson arrived this time and without hesitation the British fleet split up and began to attack the French from two fronts. The battle was won by the British, although another injury was sustained by Nelson, a head injury which he first thought to be fatal turned out not to be. Unfortunately, Napoleon escaped undetected but a solid victory for Nelson was secured.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 21: Horatio Nelson returned to Naples where he was treated with the utmost respect. Eventually he made the return journey home, but not as the same man that left. In the interim he had begun an affair with Lady Hamilton and by the time he reached England his wife Fanny was aware of the relationship and gave Nelson an ultimatum. The couple never lived together again.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 22: In 1803 war broke out and Horatio Nelson made his preparations to return to sea. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet and given command of HMS Victory as his flagship. By July he was in Toulon and the following year was promoted to Vice Admiral of the White.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 23: While on leave in England news was brought to Nelson that the French and Spanish had joined forces and were at anchor currently in Cádiz. Nelson made haste for London in order to receive his orders before returning home and making haste for Portsmouth and on to Cadiz. Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 24: Once he reached Cadiz, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson immediately began to plan together with his captains their attack. Unlike the French and Spanish Nelson decided to divide his forces up into squadrons rather than a traditional line of battle which his plan relied on the enemy doing.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 25: As the battle go under way, several appeals for Nelson’s safety were made and ignored by him. He chose to stay on Victory and not change his coat to make himself less of a target for sharpshooters. Thus it was in the thick of the fighting having been side by side giving orders Captain Hardy, on board the Victory with Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, turned to see Nelson kneeling on the deck before he keeled over. Immediately transported below decks to William Beatty, the surgeon he said “You can do nothing for me. I have but a short time to live. My back is shot through.” He was made as comfortable as was possible. Nelson gave instructions for word to be got to Lady Hamilton and his daughter and family to be taken care of. His last words over his last few hours were “Thank God I have done my duty.” The chaplain Alexander Scott was by his side in his final moments, with his eyes closed his pulse weak, his very last words were “God and my country” before Horatio Nelson died on October 21st 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, Spain.
Admiral Lord Nelson Fact 26: Directly after his death the body of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was placed in a cask of brandy mixed in with myffh and camphor. When the Victory reached Gibraltar having been towed there, his body was transferred to a lead-lined coffin and filled with spirits of wine before being transported back to England where his was finally laid to rest in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Influence & Legacy: When King George III was given the news he was said to have responded through tears “We have lost more than we have gained.” The Times issued a report stating “We do not know whether we should mourn or rejoice. The country has gained the most splendid and decisive victory that has ever graced the naval annals of England; but it has been dearly purchased.
List of Battles and Awards given to Horatio Nelson: *** American War of Independence - Battle of Fort San Juan *** Battle of Grand Turk *** War of the First Coalition *** Siege of Calvi (WIA) *** Battle of Genoa *** Battle of Hyères Islands *** Battle of Cape St Vincent *** Attack on Cádiz Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (WIA) *** Battle of the Nile*** War of the Second Coalition - Siege of Malta *** Battle of Copenhagen *** Raid on Boulogne *** War of the Third Coalition - Battle of Trafalgar (DOW) *** Awards - Knight of the Order of the Bath ***