Born in Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk, Horatio Nelson, the sixth
of eleven children, joined the Navy at age 12. He became a captain at age 20, and saw service in the West Indies, Baltic
and Canada. He married Frances Nisbet in 1787 in Nevis, and returned to England with his bride to spend the next five years
on half-pay, frustrated at not being at sea.
When Britain entered the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, Nelson
was given command of the Agamemnon. He served in the Mediterranean, where he helped capture Corsica and battled at Calvi,
where he lost the sight in his right eye. He would later lose his right arm at the
Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (1797). As a commander
he was known for bold action, and the occasional disregard of orders from his seniors. This defiance brought him victories
against the Spanish off Cape Vincent in 1797, and at the Battle of Copenhagen four years later, where he ignored orders to
cease action by putting his telescope to his blind eye and claiming he couldn't see the signal.
At the Battle of the Nile (1798), he successfully destroyed Napoleon's fleet and bid for an overland trade route to India.
His next posting took him to Naples where he fell in love with Emma, Lady Hamilton. Although they remained married to others,
they considered each other soul mates and together had a child, Horatia, in 1801. Earlier that same year, he was promoted
Over the period 1794 to 1805, under Nelson's leadership, the British Navy proved its supremacy over the French. His most
famous engagement, at Cape Trafalgar, saved Britain from threat of invasion by Napoleon, but it would be his last. Struck
by a French sniper's bullet he died on the first day of battle, October 21, 1805.
The Nelson Decade: 1995-2005
The Nelson Decade, which commenced on 21 October 1995 with the
190th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, will be an eventful period with notable activities and public events being organised,
culminating in October 2005, the
200 aniversary of The Battle of Trafalgar, to commemorate
Nelson's life and achievements and to celebrate the bicentenaries of his four most important battles: