History's HEROES? 1758 - 1805

Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson - Key facts

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1758 September 29th - Horatio (Horace) Nelson is born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk. His father, Edmund, is the local vicar.
1771 Nelson decides he wants to join the Navy. His father takes him to his uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, and Nelson joins HMS Raisonnable in April.
1772 Nelson returns from a 14 month voyage to the West Indies as a midshipman on a merchant ship. Nelson rejoins his uncle on HMS Triumph.
1775 On HMS Seahorse (a 20 gunner), Nelson has his first taste of battle when his ship is attacked by boats belonging to a hostile Indian prince. His uncle becomes becomes Comptroller of the Navy (the Navy Board’s leading official).
1777 April - Nelson passes his degree as Master of Arts (his lieutenant's exam) in London. He joins HMS Lowestoffe, as a full officer, (second lieutenant).
November - Nelson helps to capture his first prize, an American brig, the Revolution. Nelson joins in even though there are such rough seas that some other officers refuse.
1778 February - France declares war against Britain in support of America. More ships are needed to support the conflicts. Nelson's uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, dies.
1781 Nelson is given command of HMS Albemarle. He captures an American schooner, the Harmony, near Boston.
1784 Nelson is given command of a frigate, HMS Boreas. His ship is sent to the West Indies. His duty is to enforce the customs laws.
1787 Nelson marries Frances Nesbit, a young widow with a small son, whom he meets in Nevis.
1789 Nelson is back in England, without a ship, when Frances arrives. She finds it difficult to adjust to such a different way of life.
1793 France declares war on Britain. Nelson is recalled to command HMS Agamemnon which sails to join the British fleet in the Mediterranean.
September - Nelson is ordered to Naples to seek help from King Ferdinand IV to defend Toulon. Here he meets Emma Hamilton, the envoy’s wife.
1794 Admiral Hood gives Nelson command of the bombardment of Fort Bastia on Corsica. Nelson is successful and the French surrender.
July - Nelson is wounded in his right eye attacking the fort of Calvi on Corsica.
1796 Nelson is made a commodore and HMS Captain becomes his flagship.
1797 Battle of St Vincent against the Spanish. Nelson boards and captures two huge Spanish warships, despite his own ship being shot to pieces.
Nelson becomes a national hero. He is knighted and promoted to Rear Admiral of the Blue.
In an attack on Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Nelson's arm is shattered by a musket ball. His ship’s surgeon Thomas Eshelby, amputates the arm.
1798 Back on active duty, Nelson helps to win the battle of the Nile against the French by daringly attacking them from both sides. 13 out of 17 French ships are captured, sunk or burned leaving Napoleon stranded.
Nelson was wounded in the head and goes to Naples to recuperate. He is treated as a great hero. He falls in love with Emma Hamilton.
1799 Nelson is promoted to Rear Admiral of the Red. He spends most of the year near Naples, on the pretext of defending it.
1800 Nelson travels overland back to England with the Hamiltons. Everywhere he is mobbed by adoring crowds.
1801 Nelson separates from his wife. He is promoted to Vice-Admiral of the Blue. Emma gives birth to their daughter Horatia.
April. The battle of Copenhagen. In the middle of the battle, the Commander, Parker, raises a flag to withdraw. Nelson puts his telescope to his blind eye so he cannot see the message.
Nelson continues to fight until the Danes agree to a truce. The British people see it as a great victory and Nelson is appointed commander-in-chief of the Baltic fleet
1802 The war between Britain and France ends. Nelson lives with Emma Hamilton and Horatia in Merton House in Surrey.
1803 Britain declares war on France. Nelson is given HMS Victory as his flagship. He is now commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet.
1804 Nelson is promoted to Vice Admiral of the White while still at sea.
1805 October - the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson sends the signal to his fleet - "England expects that every man will do his duty."
After only five hours the British capture 17 ships and burn 1 of the 33 French ships. Nelson is mortally wounded by a sniper. He is carried below and dies 3 hours later. The British fleet is victorious.
1806 Nelson's coffin is carried in procession, watched by a huge crowd, mourning the loss of their hero. Nelson is laid to rest in St. Paul's Cathedral.
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