Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson is revered as one of the greatest Englishman, who saved his country from invasion by the French in the early 19th century. What were the circumstances of Nelson’s simultaneous magnificent victory and tragic death?

Answer: Beloved by his men, Nelson lost an arm and an eye in the service of his country. Despite being a brilliant strategies and naval tactician he suffered from seasickness. In 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar the naval forces he commanded defeated the French navy. This victory thereby ended the threat of invasion in England by the French, that had been ever-present for nearly a decade.

At Trafalgar Nelson was shot by a sniper from the rigging of a nearby French ship. He had refused to take off his elaborate admiral’s uniform bedecked with the glittering awards and decorations of his illustrious career, but which also made him an easily recognizable target.

When the news was received in England the populace swayed between elation and despair at the magnificent victory, yet the loss of the national hero. King George IV was told at seven in the morning and it was nearly five minutes before he could speak. While on his death bed, Nelson was said to have uttered the famous last words to his Flag Captain Thomas Hardy, who was attending him, ‘Kiss me Hardy’. But others have said that he might have actually said ‘Kismet’, the Arabic word for ‘fate’.

Source: Horatio Nelson by Tom Pocock

More at: History

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