Did you know that Horatio Nelson was born today in 1758? He was one of England’s greatest military heroes and served as a Vice Admiral in the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars. He was known for his daring, unique tactics, and inspirational leadership, which helped him to win many significant battles. Nelson did encounter many obstacles, (he suffered from seasickness, poor health and lost an arm and eye in separate battles) but he was quick to rally and keep on trying.
We hope that you have a dauntless day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.
The phrase “to turn a blind eye” or “turning a blind eye” comes from an incident in Nelson’s life. Nelson had injured his right eye during the fighting on Corsica and eventually lost all vision in that eye. Later, during the Battle of Copenhagen, Admiral Sir Hyde Parker gave the signal and command for all attacking ships to retreat. Nelson, not wanting to retreat from the battle said, “I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes.” He then raised his telescope to his blind eye and said, “I really do not see the signal”. He ordered his forces to continue the fight and after three hours, was able to obtain a truce from the Danish commander which lead to an armistice.
Horatio Nelson’s right arm was shattered by a musketball during the Battle of Tenerife. Although he was wounded, he insisted on boarding the ship by himself saying, “I have got my legs and one arm.” Once on board, he instructed the ships surgeon to amputate the arm. Within half an hour Nelson had returned to issuing orders to his men. Though the loss of his arm initially discouraged him, he did not let this hold him back. Later on, he dealt with the loss with a wry humor. He would call, “I am Lord Nelson, and this is my fin!”. Once a public house wanted to be renamed “The Nelson Arms”, to which Nelson replied, “That would be absurd, seeing I have but one.”
When Nelson was a teenager, he joined Commander Skeffington Lutwidge’s and Constantine Phipps’ expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage. During that expedition, the ship was trapped in the ice. Nelson spotted and then pursued a polar bear. After being commanded to return to the ship and asked why he had chased such a dangerous animal, Nelson replied that he had wanted to get the skin of the bear for his father.
Horatio Nelson received many honors while living and after his death. At his funeral, the titles that were inscribed on his coffin read:
The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim.
Horatio Nelson was wounded and died during the Battle of Trafalgar. Some of Nelson’s last words were “Thank God I have done my duty”. His body was preserved in a cask of brandy and brought back to England where he was given a state funeral. His funeral procession included 32 admirals, more than 100 captains, and 10,000 soldiers.