|Activity||Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson (1758-1805), admiral, was the son of Edmund Nelson (1722-1802), rector of Burnham-Thorpe, in Norfolk, and of his wife Catherine Suckling (1725-1767). Nelson was educated at Norwich and in Norfolk. He entered the navy in 1770 by joining his uncle Captain Maurice Suckling's ship, the Raisonnable, as 'captain's servant'. He also sailed on a merchant ship to gain practical experience and then rejoined his uncle in 1772 and continued his training in navigation. In 1773 he sailed as coxswain towards the North Pole, followed by a two year trip to the East Indies as a midshipman, but he was sent home in poor health. In 1776 he signed on as a lieutenant on the Worcester, sailing to Gibraltar and passed his examination on their return in 1777. He was then made second lieutenant on the Lowestoft, which sailed to Jamaica, where he commanded her tender, the Little Lucy. In 1778 Nelson was moved to the Bristol and later that year was promoted to the command of the Badger. By 1780 he had been promoted to senior naval officer on an expedition to Jamaica, but again his health broke down and he was recalled to England. |
On this occasion it took a year for him to recover his health and it was not until 1781 that he was able to take over command of the Albemarle which, after a spell in the Baltic, sailed to America, 1782. In 1783, Nelson spent some time in France to study the language and was there rejected by a Miss Andrews, which prompted a return, in 1784, to England where Nelson was appointed to the Boreas and embarked on a trip to the West Indies. There he met and married a Mrs Nisbet, 1787. They returned to England and settled with his father at Burnham-Thorpe for the next four years. In 1793, in the face of an imminent war with France, Nelson was summoned to take the command of the Agammemnon which then sailed for the Mediterranean, and it was there that he first met Sir William and Emma, Lady Hamilton.
Nelson lost the sight of his right eye in 1794. He was made commodore in 1796 and in 1797 was made KB and promoted rear-admiral. Later that year he lost his right arm at Santa Cruz. In 1798 due to his successes against the French he was created Baron Nelson of the Nile. In 1799 he was made Duke of Bronte, in Sicily but had to return home the next year in poor health. On his return he separated from his wife. In 1801 he became a vice-admiral and commanded the attack on Copenhagen, and was then created Viscount Nelson. At this time he shared houses with the Hamilton's in London and Surrey, a situation which continued after Sir William's death. In 1803 Nelson was appointed to the Mediteranean where he commanded until his death at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.