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In the History Maintenance Commission on going investigation into what would have happened had Horatio Nelson missed The Battle of Trafalgar due to having to attend a welfare benefits tribunal, a brief outline of the great maritime admiral’s life has been released and appears here:
Horatio Nelson is born on September 29, at Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk. He is the sixth of eleven children. The Norfolk Journal has to regularly give up so much space to announcements regarding births, deaths and marriages in his family that it becomes known as Nelson’s Column.
Nelson attends Paxton Grammar School, but his love of all things ship like see him in various scrapes. For instance he asks during the exam season if there is any rigging going on, simply because he wants to climb it, but is thrown out for appearing to question the veracity of the school’s exam results.
Aged 12, Nelson joins the Navy but immediately suffers from sea-sickness. Still thinks this is preferable to being a physician where he’d see sickness every day.
Nelson takes his Lieutenants exam in London and passes with flying colours. He decides to keep his head down as the flying colours could be a virulent disease and he seems to catch anything that’s airborne.
On April 10, he is given commission of his first ship HMS Lowestoffe. But admits he wouldn’t have minded a job with the NHS in Lowestoffe instead.
Nelson’s malaria returns.
Nelson is fortunate to escape a prolonged sea chase from a superior French force under Louis Phillipe de Vaudrevil. Afterwards, Nelson thanks Louis for letting him hide beneath him. Louis is sure that if the boot was on the other foot Nelson would do the same for him, but Horatio informs his saviour that the last time he tried on somebody else’s footwear he got a verruca.
Peace is declared in the American War of Independence. Nelson returns to land and looks for a career that doesn’t involve maritime adventures at all. Is trialled for the tricky post of a circus administration officer. But shows himself to be all at sea with this and is swiftly relieved of his duties.
Nelson contemplates standing for Parliament as a supporter of William Pitt, but is unable to find a seat. This despite being in the Home Furnishings Section of B & Q at the time.
Horatio returns to sea on HMS Boreas. Still weakened by his bouts of malaria he visits the ship’s surgeon to see if he has anything in his medicine cabinet to combat fatigue. The surgeon does have something it’s called a saw which he uses to amputate useless limbs and appendages. Nelson instantaneously discovers a new spring in his step and declares himself to be fatigue free. As he leaves the sickbay he makes a mental note to never let the surgeon know about his erectile dysfunction issues.
Nelson knocks together a nexus when he ties the nuptial knot with Fanny Nisbet on the island of Nevis and then returns to Britain suffering from severe alliteration sickness.
Nelson and his wife live in his childhood home in Burnham Thorpe. Fanny complains about the squeeze, so Horatio agrees to have an extension built upon the Wendy House.
The Admiralty recalls Nelson and gives him command of the battleship HMS Agamemnon.
On February 1st, France declares war.
In Naples, on September 27, Nelson declares his love for Emma Hamilton, the wife of the British Ambassador, by serenading her.
Nelson is instrumental in the daring capture of Corsica. He promises the Admiralty not to bring his violin next time. During the battle he sustains an injury to his right eye and eventually loses the sight in it.
Writes to Emma Hamilton suggesting that they go on a date but explains that if another Corsica comes along it will have to be delayed and then they would have to arrange a blind date.
At the battle of St. Vincent, Nelson heroically captures two Spanish ships. He is made a Knight of the Bath an honour he accepts with alacrity. He later admits that he wishes he had accepted it with a bar of Dove Soap and other nice smellies instead.
In the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Nelson is badly wounded in the right arm. Most of it is amputated by the ship’s surgeon and within minutes Nelson is back on deck of HMS Theseus giving orders.
Nelson is now considered a hero in Britain. His agent realizes that the more of his physical being that Nelson loses, the more popular and heroic he becomes. This prompts the agent to ask Horatio if he would consider being circumcised?
Nelson recuperates in the capital of England and while there is presented with the Freedom of London.
Nelson, as commander of a squadron aboard HMS Vanguard destroys Napoleon’s superior fleet in the Battle of the Nile. He receives further awards including the title Baron Nelson of the Nile.
His affair with Emma Hamilton intensifies.
King Ferdinand confers upon Horatio the Dukedom of Bronte as reward for his recapture of Naples. But on proviso he doesn’t try that serenading lark ever again.
Nelson realises that he is no longer being invited out to formal dinner dates. This is because by the time his name and list of titles are read out most of the guests have succumbed to the effects of starvation.
At the Battle of Copenhagen the commander of the British fleet sends Nelson a semaphore message to withdraw. When informed aboard HMS Elephant Nelson raises his telescope to his blind eye so effectively ignores it. The battle continues and British fortunes improve to the extent that the Danes accept an armistice.
Horatio becomes Viscount Nelson of the Nile.
Napoleon masses his forces for an invasion of Britain. Nelson is placed in charge of defending the English Channel.
Nelson is appointed Commander of the Mediterranean Fleet and provided with HMS Victory as his flagship.
At the Battle of Trafalgar, October 21, Nelson’s fleet triumphs against a stronger enemy and prevents the invasion of Britain. Before battle is engaged, he sends out the signal that England expects that every man will do his duty. During the battle Nelson is hit by a sniper’s bullet and is taken below decks.
Ninety minutes later, Hardy informs his dying commander that many ships have surrendered to him and are now in his possession. Nelson thinks it’s a right bugger as it means he will now have to quickly rewrite his will.
About three hours after being hit, Nelson dies. Amongst his last words were ‘Thank God I have done my duty’. The ship’s purser, Walter Burke, looks at the many gallons of Spanish and French wine the British have collected as booty and says, ‘You ought to be thanking God that you won’t have to pay the bloody duty!’
When news reaches Britain of the victory at Trafalgar and Nelson’s end, its subjects feel muted in their celebrations. The mood of the nation is captured by King George III who says, ‘We have lost more than we have gained.’ Miserable bastard.
Categories: Horatio Nelson