Horatio Nelson is the most famous naval commander of Britain. His skills as well as the ability to make decisions quickly allowed him to successfully built a career as an officer in the Royal Navy. His bravery and boldness helped Britain to win several battles. He truly was the person who could think “outside the box” and come up with non-standard solutions.
Today, we gathered 8 interesting facts about Nelson that our readers may not know about. Here they are…
Horatio Nelson: 8 interesting facts about the most well-known naval commander of Britain
1. Horatio Nelson was born in a prominent family
Nelson was born in September 1758. His father, Edmund Nelson, was a priest while his mother, Catherine Suckling, came from the influential Walpole family. The Nelsons weren’t very rich, but the financial position of the family was quite stable. Catherine gave birth to 11 children. Nelson was the third of the sons who survived childhood. Unfortunately, Catherine died when he was only 9 years old.
Nelson studied at Paston Grammar School and continued his education at the King Edward VI’s Grammar School.
2. Horatio Nelson started his career at the age of 13
Maurice Suckling, Nelson’s uncle, helped him to start his career. He served as a seaman at the HMS Raisonnable, the ship under the command of his uncle. Believe it or not, but he was only 13 years old at that time, an interesting fact about Horatio Nelson.
His efforts and desire to grow were noticed, and he was soon promoted to midshipman. Almost right after that, he began officer training.
3. Horatio Nelson had an affair with Emma Hamilton, the wife of a British diplomat
Nelson had been happily married to 10 years when he met Emma Hamilton. They met in 1793. The affair between the two was the cause of rumors. Soon after the return from Naples in 1800, Nelson separated from his wife. However, he gave half of his income to Frances until the end of his life.
4. Horatio Nelson suffered from seasickness
As surprising as it is, but the fact is that Horatio Nelson suffered from seasickness throughout all his life. He discovered that he suffered from the disease soon after he began his training. Nelson proved that nothing could stop a man from achieving the greatest goal of life. Despite suffering from seasickness, he achieved great success as a naval officer, an interesting Horatio Nelson fact.
5. Horatio Nelson never wore an eye-patch
Battles took a toll on Nelson’s health. He had many injuries. He could barely move his right hand. Besides, he almost couldn’t see anything with his right eye. However, he never wore any eye-patch to hide his right eye. Why? Because the eye wasn’t disfigured.
There are many portraits of Nelson in which he’s depicted with the patch on the eye. The truth is that the eye-patch was painted solely for the purpose of making the admiral Nelson look more heroic.
6. Horatio Nelson’s life served as the basis for many legends about him
One of the stories happened while he was serving as a midshipman. During the expedition to the North Pole, Nelson and his friend decided to stalk a polar bear. They got close enough to kill the animal, but the rifle misfired. Nelson used the butt of the rifle to fend off the bear. Luckily, he was able to escape to safety.
According to one more legend, Nelson once received a very unusual gift. It was the coffin made of the mast of a French ship. Nelson ordered to put the coffin in the chief cabin. He kept the present up until his death.
7. Horatio Nelson often did things that were seen as foolish by many people
Once, a very interesting story happened. The letters of Nelson’s crew were to be shipped to England on board of a frigate. The next day, a battle was expected. Therefore, all members of the crew wrote letters to their families and friends. The letters were packed in sacks, and the ship sailed.
Soon after that, a young sailor from the crew discovered that he had forgotten to put his letter in the sack. He came to the duty officer with the letter in his hand and explained what the matter was.
The officer was furious. He said that this wasn’t the reason for turning the frigate back. The sailor was at a loss. Luckily, Nelson heard their talk. He came to the officer and asked what all was about. After that, he ordered to turn the frigate back. The sailor’s family received his letter.
The next day, all the crew knew about the story. What Nelson did for one member of his crew spoke a lot about his personality. An interesting fact about Horatio Nelson is that he was capable of doing seemingly foolish things for those that he cared about. No wonder that all the sailors serving under his command respected and loved him.
8. Horatio Nelson didn’t like to follow the rules
Nelson is the national hero of Britain. In the course of his career, he achieved success many times. His strategies, skills and experience often were crucial for winning a sea battle. However, he wasn’t the one who always followed the rules. He made his own decisions and acted the way he believed was the best for achieving success.
He never followed the orders if he believed them to be inadequate. Most often, authorities didn’t punish him for that. Why? Because the decisions and actions of Nelson, as a rule, brought more than desirable results and benefits.
Horatio Nelson died during the Battle of Trafalgar. Many historians believe that he died because he put himself in danger on purpose. Whether it’s true or not, we will never know.
We hope that the facts provided will inspire you to learn more about Horatio Nelson. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!