Lord Horatio Nelson was born a son of the Rector of Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk, on 29th September 1758.(Michaelmas Day)
HORATIO NELSON is generally regarded as the greatest officer in the history of the Royal Navy. His reputation is based on a series of remarkable victories culminating in the Battle of Trafalgar where he was killed in his moment of triumph, when he utterly defeated the Combined French and Spanish Battle Fleet.
The poet Lord Byron referred to him as " Britannia's God of War".
NELSON joined the Navy aged 12 in 1770, he experienced sailing in the West Indies, the North West Passage when only 14,and in the North Sea. He was promoted post Captain at the age of 20. His first command was the Frigate HMS HINCHINBROOK, a 6th rate 28 guns she was the French ASTREE captured in 1779 and re-named.
He was charged later with taking young Prince William [the future King William 1V.] to the West Indies in HMS ALBERMARLE, another 6th rate 28 guns captured from the French. She was named by them MENAGERE.
These appointments coming his way by virtue of his uncle Captain Maurice Suckling (1), Comptroller of the Navy and MP for Portsmouth no less. In the West Indies he shared lodgings with William Cornwallis (2), later Admiral Cornwallis. These two men who had an early influence on Nelson are shown on the two stamps from Nevis.
Nelson appears on many stamps that are copied from painted portraits. According to Lord Vincent, Nelson sat for "every painter in London".The first portrait as an eighteen year old Lieutenant by John Francis Rigaud was begun in 1777 and completed in 1780 . It shows Nelson in post captain's uniform with the fortress ofSan Juan Nicaragua in the background (3). This was used on the 40p Ascension Island stamp (3a).
A portrait by John Hoppner was used for the 50p Tristan da Cunha stamp (4). Nelson was bitterly disappointed that he could not add a medal for the Battle of Copenhagen to the medals he had for the Battles of St Vincent and the Nile. The Admiralty did not consider that the battle should be commemorated with a medal.
The portrait by Lemuel Francis Abbot, used for the 47p Gibraltar stamp (5) shows Nelson wearing his foreign decorations including the chelengk, given to him by the sultan of Turkey, in his hat.
The $2.50 stamp of Nauru is from a portrait of Nelson by Sir William Beechey in London in 1800.(6)
The Grenada mini-sheet of the 200th Anniversary of Battle of Trafalgar shows Nelson, Napoleon Boneparte, HMS Victory and, from a painting by William Marshall - "Nelson's Band of Brothers", but more correctly "Nelson explaining his plans for the Battle to his captains".(7)
Barbados issued a stamp in 1950 showing Nelson's statue. SG274.(8)
For the Trafalgar 200 celebrations, a special portrait of Nelson was commissioned and used for many countries including Jamaica, Nauru, Solomon Islands, St Helena, Kiribati and others. (9)
Nevis issued a min-sheet (10) for Trafalgar 200 showing the Mather Brown painting of Lord Howe on his Flagship QUEEN CHARLOTTE - Glorious First of June Battle. Nelson described Howe as "our great master in naval tactics and bravery". Above the stamp is the 1780 portrait of Nelson by Rigaud and also a portrait of Admiral Lord Hawke. Nelson favoured the tactics of Hawke who was adept at chasing and breaking enemy lines in seemingly impetuous and unformed attacks.
Apart from HMS Hinchinbrook and HMS Albermarle previously mentioned,Nelson was given command of HMS Agamemnon,(see http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewt ... f=2&t=8860) a 3rd rate 64, in 1793 when he was assigned to the Mediterranean. It was there that he took part in the capture of Corsica in 1794. While directing naval guns from siege works outside the town of Calvi, he was hit in the face by a shower of gravel resulting from a near miss and he was blinded in his right eye.(11)
In 1797 he was in HMS Captain (see http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewt ... f=2&t=8862 ) at the Battle of Cape St Vincent.
In 1798 he was in HMS Vanguard (see http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewt ... 7788#p7788) at the Battle of the Nile.
In 1801 he was in HMS Elephant (see http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewt ... f=2&t=8863) at the Battle of Copenhagen.
In 1805 his Flagship at Trafalgar was HMS Victory. (see http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewt ... f=2&t=8865)
All of the above four ships are shown on the $10 issue from Liberia taken from a painting in 1908 by Nicolas Pocock.(12)
Nelson was in charge of HMS Boreas (see http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewt ... reas#p7357) for three years in the West Indies between 1784 and 1787. She was a 6th rate 28 guns built by Blaydes and Hodgson of Hull. In service august 1774, 636 tons L125ft B34ft. When she was paid off Nelson was ashore for 5 years before being given command of HMS Agamemnon.
On 10th December 1796, Commodore Nelson flew his broad pennant aboard HMS La Minerve and, under orders from Admiral Jervis sailed for the Mediterranean with HMS Blanche to complete the evacuation of Corsica and the garrison at Elba. (see http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewt ... f=2&t=7794 )
NELSON'S ACTIONS AND NAVAL ENGAGEMENTS.
In February 1797 NELSON was a Commodore, his Flagship HMS CAPTAIN. In the Fleet of Admiral Sir John Jervis whose Flagship was HMS VICTORY. On the 14th February 1797 the Battle of St Vincent was fought against a much larger Spanish Fleet, Jervis' Fleet had 15 x ships of the line 1 x 3rd rate 64, 4 x Frigates 1 x Brig and a Cutter. The Spanish Fleet had 27 x ships of the line , 10 x Frigates, and a Brig. In addition 6 of the Spanish Ships had more than 112 guns.
SANTISSIMA TRINIDAD had 136 guns on 4 decks. Jervis saw that the Spanish Fleet was straggled out with a gap of about 7 miles between the leading 6 ships and the remaining 21 . He took his ships and drove them into the gap between the two Spanish Divisions attacking the Leeward Division. Nelson in CAPTAIN without instruction or signal wore out of line and attacked the Spanish Weather Division. In doing so he he offered his ship as target to seven enemy ships including the SANTISSIMA TRINIDAD .
Nelson was followed by Collingwood in HMS EXCELLENT, Troubridge in CULLODEN and Frederick in BLENHEIM. Nelson placed the rather battered CAPTAIN onto the SAN NICOLAS 80 guns, she then collided with the the SAN JOSEF 112 guns. (13)
Nelson led CAPTAIN's crew boarding and captured the SAN NICOLAS (14). Edward Berry who was an observer on CAPTAIN in rank himself a Commander, took down the Spanish ensign. Then using the fact that the SAN NICOLAS was entangled with the SAN JOSEF they went onto that vessel and captured her as well. The use of an 80 gun ship to attack a 112 gun ship became known as "NELSON's Patent Bridge for Boarding 1st Rates" (15)(16). That was at a cost, as a quarter of the British Casualties at St Vincent were on HMS CAPTAIN.
Four Spanish Ships were captured the rest were battered but escaped. Jervis was criticised for not pursuing he Spanish Fleet, but he was made Earl Vincent, Nelson received a Knighthood and promoted Rear Admiral.
Later in 1797 NELSON was Rear Admiral and had as his Flagship HMS THESEUS during a disastrous attempt to capture a Spanish Treasure Ship and the port of Santa Cruz in Tenerife. The attack was repulsed by the garrison being vigilant and ready for action.
The British had been misinformed that the garrison would quickly surrender.
Nelson sustained injuries during the attack that resulted in him being returned to the THESEUS, where he had his right arm amputated on 24th July 1797. (17)
NELSON - BATTLE OF THE NILE (18)
In August 1798 Lord Horatio NELSON was in his Flagship HMS VANGUARD. The BATTLE OF THE NILE was acknowledged as one of his greatest achievements. Following chase criss-crossing the Mediterranean, Nelson became aware that the French had taken Malta .
He surmised that the French were bound for Egypt, and he headed there arriving before the French fleet. Believing then that the French were about to invade Turkey, Nelson headed North. In doing so he passed the French who were on route for Alexandria. On being told that the French had landed there, Nelson returned and found the French Fleet anchored in Aboukir Bay in a seemingly impregnable position.
Nelson had briefed his Captains that he was going to attack immediately. Captain Foley in HMS GOLIATH 74 (19)saw that the French were anchored and swinging freely on their bow anchors. He believed that there was room on the landward side of the French ships.
Foley, without hesitation, crossed the bows of the French GUERRIER Delivering a murderous raking fire from the landward side where he anchored GOLIATH. The French ship's guns were manned and pointing seawards. In fact stores and bedding were stacked on the Indward side of the ship's decks.
HMS CULLODEN followed GOLIATH, but she ran aground on a sand bank, then the British Ships, ZEALOUS, AUDACIOUS, THESEUS and ORION, using CULLODEN as a buoy and passed clear and followed GOLIATH.
These ships attacked the French ships from the landward side. The remaining British ships then attacked from the seaward side. The French Flagship L'ORIENT 120 guns, under fire from different directions burst into flames and blew up at 10.pm. (20)The explosion damaged several nearby ships.
The French then struck their colours. But 4 x French ships, under Admiral Villeneave – GUILLAUME TELL 80, GENEREUX 74, DIANE 74 and JUSTICE 44 escaped . British losses were 600 men, the French lost 6,250. (21)
The following ships were captured and taken into the Royal Navy. AQUILON 74, CONQUERANT 74, FRANKLYN 80, PEUPLE SOVEREIGN 74, SPARTIATE 74 and TONNANT 80.
GUERRIER, HEUREUX, MERCURE and TIMOLON, all 74's, were burnt.
BRITISH ORDER OF BATTLE
Ship Guns Men Captain
Alexander 74 590 Alexander Ball
Audacious 74 590 Davidge Gould
Bellerophon 74 590 Henry d"Esterre Darby
Culloden 74 590 Thomas Troubridge
Defence 74 590 John Payton
Goliath 74 590 Thomas Foley
Leander 50 343 Thomas Thornoson
Majestic 74 59 George Westoott
Minotaur 74 595 Thomas Louis
Mutine 16 120 Thomas Hardy
Orion 74 590 Sir James Saumarez
Swiftsure 74 590 Benjamin Hallowell
Theseus 74 590 Ralph Miller
Vanguard, 74 640 Edward Berry*
Admiral Horatio Nelson
Zealous 74 590 Samuel Hood
LETTERS AND DESPATCHES (22)
TO ADMIRAL THE EARL OF ST. VINCENT, KB., COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.
Vanguard, off the Mouth of the Nile, 3rd August, 1798.
Almighty God has blessed his Majesty's Arms in the late Battle, by a great Victory over the Fleet of the Enemy, who I attacked at sunset on the 1st of August, off the Mouth of the Nile. The Enemy were moored in a strong Line of Battle for defending the entrance of the Bay, (of Shoals,) flanked by numerous Gun-boats, four Frigates, and a Battery of Guns and Mortars on an Island in their Van; but nothing could withstand the Squadron your Lordship did me the honour to place under my command. Their high state of discipline is well known to you, and with the judgment of the Captains, together with their valour, and that of the Officers and Men of every description, it was absolutely irresistible. Could anything from my pen add to the character of the Captains, I would write it with pleasure, but that is impossible.
I have to regret the loss of Captain Westcott of the Majestic, who was killed early in the Action; but the Ship was continued to be so well fought by her First Lieutenant, Mr. Cuthbert, that I have given him an order to command her till your Lordship's pleasure is known.
The Ships of the Enemy, all but their two rear Ships, are nearly dismasted: and those two, with two Frigates, I am sorry to say, made their escape; nor was it, I assure you, in my power to prevent them. Captain Hood most handsomely endeavoured to do it, but I had no Ship in a condition to support the Zealous, and I was obliged to call her in.
The support and assistance I have received from Captain Berry cannot be sufficiently expressed. I was wounded in the head, and obliged to be carried off the deck; but the service suffered no loss by that event Captain Berry was fully equal to the important service then going on, and to him I must beg leave to refer you for every information relative to this Victory. He will present you with the Flag of the Second in Command, that of the Commander-in-Chief being burnt in L'Orient.
I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient Servant, HORATIO NELSON.
NELSON-BATTLE OF COPENHAGEN (23)(24)
When Denmark refused to leaved the Armed Neutrality of the North Coalition the Royal Navy moved to deprive the French of the Danish Fleet.
The Danes had 18 ships in Copenhagen Harbour protected by a 66 gun battery and a wide area of shoals that made navigation difficult
The British had 26 Line of Battle ships, seven Frigates and a number of smaller craft.
When talks between the two parties failed the Brtish Commander, Sir Hyde Parker moved in his Deputy Vice Admiral Lord NELSON into battle with the Danes.
Nelson in HMS ELEPHANT with eleven warships went around the shoals preparing to make his attack. Several key warships ran aground, BELLONA, and RUSSELL after they had tacked round the Middle Ground, whilst AGAMEMNON was stranded from the start.
Then a floating battery meant to fire on the land batteries of the Danes, ran aground..
The following action was bloody with many casualties.
For three hours heavy gunfire was exchanged between ships and shore batteries. Three ships were sent in to replace the three that had run aground, they being VETERAN, RAMILLIES and DEFENCE , they made slow painful progress. Then Parker hoisted the infamous signal 39 - " DISCONTINUE THE ACTION". Nelson, whatever he may have said or whichever eye he put his telescope to ignored the signal.
So in fact did every other ship in the fleet apart from a few frigates and smaller ships not involved in the firing since it was a general order, which every ship was supposed to obey directly, whatever their intermediate commander may have done.
Withdrawal would in any case have been suicidal. The Danes would not have ceased firing and taking men from the guns to make sail would have left the Ships virtually defenceless.
Before the fleet withdrew the Danish guns had to be silenced. Nelson's ELEPHANT continued to fly the signal "ENGAGE MORE CLOSELY". The fleet obeying his signal.
By about 2pm many of the Danish defences were out of action, the bombardment slowed down, so Nelson sent a flag of truce suggesting an end to the hostilities. This came about at 3.15pm. after nearly six hours of continuous gunfire. The British had 1000 men killed or wounded, but the Danes had 2,000 casualties and over 2,000 taken prisoner. 12 ships were taken as prizes.
Nelson's legend continued to grow. Everybody knows that he died at Trafalgar and that he put his telescope to his blind eye at Copenhagen. Hyde Parker was ruined. He left negotiations to Nelson and eventually an Armistice was declared.
Hyde Parker was ordered home and the Admiralty had him strike his flag. He was never employed again. Nelson was in overall command. He went to Russia and obtained the release of impounded British merchantmen. Handing over command to Vice Admiral Pole he returned home in HMS KITE, a Brig.
BATTLE of COPENHAGEN Line of Battle (24)
Elephant 74 Vice Admiral Lord Nelson Captain Thomas Foley
Defiance 74 Rear Admiral Graves Captain Richard Retalick
Edgar 74 Captain George Murray
Monarch 74 Captain James Mosse
Bellona 74 Captain Sir Thomas Thompson
Ganges 74 Captain Thomas Fremantle
Russell 74 Captain William Cumming Agamemnon 74 Captain Robert Fancourt
Ardent 64 Captain Thomas Bertie Polyphemus 64 Captain John Lawford
Glatton 54 Captain William Bligh
Isis 50 Captain James Walker
Amazon 38 Captain Edward Riou
Dibsirke 36 Captain Henry Inman
Blanche 36 Captain Graham Hammond
Alcmene 32 Captain Graham Hammond
Jamaica 26 Captain Jonas Rose
Arrow 30 Captain William Bolton
Dart 30 Captain John Devonshire
Cruiser 18 Commander James Brisbane
Harpy 16 Commander William Birchall
Discovery 16 Commander John Conn
Explosion 8 Commander John Martin Heda 10 Commander Richard Hatherill Sulphur 10 Commander Hender Whiner
Terror 8 Commander Samuel Rowley Volcano 8 Commander James Watson
Zebra 16 Commander Edward Clay
Otter 14 Commander George McKinley
Zephyr 14 Commander Clotworthy Upton
BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR (written up elsewhere) (25)(26)(28)(29)
Following the battle at about 4.00pm 21st October 1805, Captain Hardy told Nelson that he had a complete victory, in that at least 15 enemy ships had been captured. Nelson replied "That is good but I had bargained for twenty".
He ordered that the fleet should anchor, but this was not complied with. He told Hardy that he was near death and requested that he be not thrown overboard.
He said "Take care of poor Lady Hamilton"
Then - "KISS ME HARDY" (27)
The monument is surmounted by the Apotheosis. Consisting of a roughly pyramidal group of five figures. These figures are entangled in the voluminous drapes of four large "captured" flags. The flag poles are set at different angles. An anchor and rope lie around the base. An idealised nude Lord Nelson, his right foot on a cannon and his left foot on a corpse of a conquered enemy, raises in his left hand a sword upon which Victory personified is putting a fourth crown to indicating his fourth Naval victory — Trafalgar. She is also lowering one of the flags to conceal Nelson's missing right arm. To the right of Nelson, half hidden by the lowered flag, is the skeleton depicting Death reaching out to touch him indicating that he died at the moment of victory. A lance wielding British seaman, although the lance is now missing, seemingly is attacking Death with the intention of avenging Nelson. Behind Nelson, the fifth figure BRITANNIA is kneeling with bowed head lamenting his death. She wears a Greek helmet and her right hand slung over her shield holds a laurel wreath and Nelson's decorations. One medal bears the inscription. NILE / First Aug / 1798.
NELSON'S SWORD (31)
A gold mounted presentation ceremonial sword with gilt decoration to the blade, etched with presentation inscription as follows
"THE SUBSCIBERS TO A FUND FOR ERECTING A MONUMENT
IN LIVERPOOL TO THE IMORTAL MEMORY OF THE LATE
Rt.HON.ADMIRAL LORD NELSON WITH EVERY SENTIMENT
OF THE GRATITUDE TO HIS GALLANT SUCCESSOR THE Rt.
HON. ADMIRAL LORD COLLINGWOOD FOR HIS HEROIC
CONDUCT IN THE EVER TO BE REMEMBERED NAVAL
ENGAGEMENT AT TRAFALGAR, PRESENT TO HIS LORDSHIP
THIS SWORD, EMBLEMATICALLY REPRESENTING THE
GLORIOUS VICTORY OVER THE COMBINED FLEET OF
FRANCE AND SPAIN IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD MDCCCV'
This sword was to be presented by Liverpool Corporation to honour and commemorate Admiral Nelson as "Victor of the battle of the Nile". After Nelson's unexpected death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, his second in command, Admiral Lord Collingwood accepted the invitation to receive the sword. However, he was refused leave from the Navy and died before he was able to visit Liverpool. The sword remains in Liverpool Town Hall today because .....
The sword was subsequently presented to Charles Utting, Lord Mayor 1918 "For his gallant war effort"
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