Horatio 'Cyclops' Nelson (1758-1805) was Great Britain's greatest naval hero. He beat the French, Spanish and Danish fleets and still had enough energy to grapple with Emma Hamilton on his days off. He was the only man who Emperor Napoleon said was a bigger bastard than he (by about two inches). He died discussing stubborn shirt stains at the Battle of Trafalgar.
The Young Sea Stud
Horatio Nelson was born with a full compliment of arms, legs and eyes in Norfolk, England in 1758 to the Reverend Edmund Nelson and wife Catherine. His father - taking the Christian maxim about going forth and multiplying - kept his wife in almost constant labour as he wanted to breed a 'Cricket eleven'. Horatio came in to 'bat' as number six which usually means he was a bit of an 'all rounder'. In British naval terms this also suggested sexual ambiguity but Nelson was definitely keener on frocks and kept a chest of contemporary fashions in his cabin when he became an officer.
The future war hero got the sea bug early and skipped off school to join a local fishing fleet in Lowestoft. There Nelson learnt all the available ropes like how to stay drunk standing up and partaking of rollicking sea adventures involving killing a sexy polar bear and not paying for beer in the French seaport of Calais. It was there apparently Nelson first learned to hate the French when one of their Ladies of Leisure laughed at the size of his 'mainmast. Nelson later on mentioned in his diaries that this experience was 'worse that taking a musket ball in the arm' and later led him to try out the vacuum pump to increase the size and circumference of his personal block and tackle. It is believed that this is where the term 'The Nelson
Method Touch' was first coined and would copied by all future British seamen in the wars that followed.
With the outbreak of the American War of Insufferable Independence, Nelson volunteered his services to the Royal Navy. He fully signed up to the British motto Rum, Sodomy and The Lash which had made the Royal Navy so feared by other fleets. Nelson got his 'oar' well and truly stuck in and denounced the American Revolution, as 'contrary to His Majesty's wishes' and hoped to see 'George Washington, Benjamin Franklin,John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Old Tom Cobley hung without their wigs on the yard arm of his ship HMS Incontinent. When the Americans were joined by their new allies the French, Spanish and Dutch, Nelson said this was all in the good and 'would enjoy' to watch all their ships burn on the oceans'.
So when peace was finally signed in 1783 after the Americans had ratted on their allies, Nelson suffered a huge personal loss. Always a man of action, Nelson couldn't abide all the mooching around at sea, pretending to like people so he returned to Norfolk to bore the pants off the locals with his naval yarns. Whilst back on land and to stop rumours about his sexual preferences, Nelson went on a Caribbean cruise for Single Sailors where he met and married Frances 'Fanny' Nisbet. It wasn't a love match, Nisbet was heir to a lot of money but duller than a wet day in Glasgow. It was a very unhappy marriage and Nelson felt his future had passed him like ' a 'Ship in the night'. Then came the news in 1793 that France had declared war on Britain. Nelson was very, very happy and left home for Portsmouth to find a ship.
War and Giving Bits Of My Body Up For The Victory
The outbreak of war with France saw Nelson right in the thick of the action. He was still looked down upon by other naval captains as a bit uncouth and possibly , aggressively homosexual. They were also suspicious of his 'touch' and insisted shaking his hand with gloves on. By then Nelson didn't care , as he had lost the sight of his right eye in bar brawl in Corsica over the affections of a woman (so it was said) . That she was actually Napoleon's scandal happy sister Pauline on a night out looking for some below decks fun just increased Nelson's hatred of anything (and anyone) French.
In a change of enemy , Nelson next made his name in command of the HMS Captain in the Battle of Cape St.Vincent in 1797. Eager to enhance his reputation , Nelson ordered that his ship be steered directly into two Spanish galleons.The Spanish were so astounded, they let Nelson crash his ship into their vessels. He lost his No Claims Bonus but won praise and glory from the British who saw this bit of reckless seamanship as a sterling example of British brio. His naval superiors were outwardly pleased and promoted Nelson to the post of Rear Admiral in the British Navy, a well regarded position in a fleet which, amongst its other duties, instructed that the last ship in line required its captain to pull down his breeches and moon at the opposing fleet.
Nelson's next command would be on board a worm eaten ship posted off the Spanish sea port of Cadiz. He was there to stop ships reaching or leaving the harbour but it was all pretty dreary and unexciting. In an attempt to spice up his duties, Nelson would look through his telescope at Spanish villas over looking the sea and watch aristocratic couples undressing and doing other unspeakable things to each other before it was 'candles out'. Nelson was at first disgusted but it was probably here that he realised all the kinky stuff had a great erotic pull on him. Damn the Spanish he would often say in private but saluted their prowess in bed - if not at sea. All Nelson now needed was to find a willing partner to blow wind up his main mast and set course for the land of Hanky-Panky..
It was whilst he was in Spanish waters that Nelson got the order to go the Canary Islands to get a welcome holiday break from staying on-board with a ship full of hand shandying sailors. Once again the hot tempered Nelson got involved in a bar fight - this time when he tried to play a game of Football in the local bull fighting ring. In the ensuing punch-up , a Spaniard chewed Nelson's right arm off. Nelson was dragged away, though once again the British Press said the English naval hero had lost his arm trying to storm Tenerife to cover up the scandal..
The Nile Campaign
By now the British Admiralty recognised that they had better preserve 'this Nelson chap' before he lost any more extremities. Nelson was recalled and given the command of the home fleet when news reached London that Napoleon Bonaparte had sailed to Egypt to improve on his sun tan and bank balance with some off-season looting. Nelson was told to find the French adventurer scoured the Mediterranean to 'scrub clean' the area of Francophiles for "the hell of it" in his search for Napoleon.
A few days after reaching the Egyptian coast near Alexandria, Nelson got word that the French fleet were anchored in Aboukir Bay a few miles along the coast. Nelson reportedly claimed to be able to beat anyone with his right hand tied behind his back. This would have been an amazing feat for a normal man but everyone knew Nelson's right hand was sitting in a surgeon's bucket hundreds of miles away in the Canary Islands. It was a good jibe and his crew laughed until the slowest of them were finally able to understand the joke and given 100 lashes to increase morale. Then Nelson ordered his fleet to sail into attack just as the day was turning into night as he thought it would make a more dramatic painting.
As Nelson relates in his own journal..I Am Sailing:
We arrived in the early evening in the bay. The Frenchies were completely unaware we were there , I could hear them having wild parties on their ships and that there were women on board too. I had smiled to myself - we had caught those randy revolutionaries with their republican bell bottom trousers down.
I signalled to the other ships in the fleet that Gentlemen! We have Bonaparte's Fate and His Balls In Our Hands. If Boney's fleet was destroyed , the little Corsican adventurer would have to stay out here and fry his bottom in the desert.
Inspired by their leader, the British ships pounded the helpless French vessels with so more hot iron than at a Heavy Metal gig. Eventually, the French flagship, the Leyton Orient, blew up, scattering footballs, empty beer bottles, goal posts and rancid meat pies across the bay. Before the explosion, observers on other ships saw French Vice Admiral François-Paul 'Stumpy' Brueys d'Aigalliers still on board, waving his arms and urging his 'boys on the burning decks' to keep firing their cannons at Nelson's fleet.
The British crews cheered and taunted the French 'You're Not Singing Anymore' and continued the battle until most of the French ships had surrendered or sank by their own crews. On hearing the news, the British parliament gave Nelson the title , Baron Nelson of the Nile and the keys to a pub of his choosing. Nelson decided to celebrate his victory in Egypt by heading off to Sicily for some urgent infidelity where he heard the wife of the British ambassador had acquired the reputation as The Hottest English Totty This Side Of The Mediterranean. Nelson was about to meet Emma Hamilton.
Lady Hamilton and A Danish Mermaid
Despite Nelson's war-battered looks, Emma Hamilton fell for Britain's naval hero hook, line and anchor. Remarkably, she persuaded her husband Sir William Hamilton to stay in his library or greenhouse whilst she right royally entertained Nelson. Emma wrote confidentially to her friend Lady Jersey, an ex-girlfriend of the king's son Prince George:
He arrived in my bedroom wearing just his admiral's hat. Nelson looked magnificent , all five foot of him as he stood to attention at the edge of my bed like a proud 100 gun Ship-of-The-Line. I beckoned him in and asked him to show his legendary Nelson touch as he caressed my bare body. When that moment came of mutual happiness , it was like a broadside aimed at the centre of my heart. We got some fresh sheets afterwards.
Stories about Nelson's sex drive got back to London where some wondered if it was wise to leave him in command of the British Mediterranean Fleet. But no dared to move against a national hero so Nelson and Emma were left in peace and happy fornication.
Eventually Nelson (with Emma and her cuckolded husband) returned to London. Nelson was once again given the heroic treatment but when he was asked to take out the Danish in Copenhagen, he was made only second in command to Admiral 'Pen' Parker. The action didn't get off to a good start. Some of the English sailors who hadn't seen a woman in years jumped overboard and swam towards the naked statue of the Little Mermaid,  basking shamelessly nude in the harbour. Nor did the fighting go well when more British ships ran aground trying stop their sailors from joining their sex-starved colleagues. At the hight of the battle , Admiral Parker signalled Nelson to retire from the battle but by chance , Nelson was once again peering at people in their bedrooms doing some 'dirty Danish things' and so missed the message. Officially it was said Nelson had exclaimed 'I See No Signal'. What he actually said was 'I See No Corsets' and was pointing his telescope at Copenhagen's red light quarter at the time. In the end, the Danes surrendered, throwing down their pastries and surrendering their ships. Nelson had won again.
The Nelson Family
Nelson once again returned to Britain. This time he gained a Viscountcy but his wife Fanny objected to having to share what was physically left of Nelson with 'that brazen floozy Emma Hamilton'. He left Fanny on Christmas Day 1801 when she unwisely gave him a knitted jumper made for a man with two full functioning arms. Upset and hysterical , Nelson told his wife that it was all over and that he had met and fallen in love with a 'new Fanny'. He added that if she complained, as a serving British admiral, Nelson could have her shot out of a cannon and then left without saying another word.
Nelson's war hopes were dashed when Britain and France signed a peace treaty in 1802. Nelson said it was a betrayal of his ambitions and moved to a public house in Surrey to live with Emma and William Hamilton. Hamilton died suddenly in 1803 leaving his antique collection to the British Museum and Emma (and the pub) to Nelson. It was an odd arrangement but Nelson was a war hero and exempt from petty public morality. With Emma he became the father of a remarkable nursery of little Nelsons:Nelson Mandela, Nelson Eddy, Nelson 'F1 Carsmasher' Piquet, The Nelson Brothers. - though all of this was later vehemently denied by the British who wanted to keep Nelson's reputation free of scandal.
War with France (and Spain) broke out once more in 1804 and this time Nelson was given HMS Victory to command the fleet. He was now a full Admiral and had a comprehensive ship-of-the-line insurance cover in case of serious naval battles. Now for the first time he could fight against his best enemies (the French) and his second best enemies (the Spanish) in a joint battle. The French admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve was told by Napoleon to 'keep running away' everytime he saw the British whilst the French Emperor got on with task of slipping across the English Channel with a flotilla of soldiers disguised as 'Bogus Asylum Seekers'.
Villeneuve followed the plan to the letter , leaving Nelson to fulminate against the 'Yellow Admiral' as he criss-crossed the Atlantic looking for the Franco-Spanish fleet. Eventually on the 21st October 1805, Nelson received news that the enemy fleet was spotted off the coast of Spain. Waiting to attack them at a place that would be easy for the British not to linguistically mangle themselves over, he gave the orders to sail straight at them off Cape Trafalgar. Nelson decided fly this famous flag signal:-
England Expects Our Boys To Give Those Cowardly French and Sneaky Spanish A Damned Good Trashing. What Ho!, ships ahoy!! go for it my sailor boys!
Leading from the front, Nelson's flagship crossed the line of the fleeing Franco-Spanish fleet . His ship was soon hotly engaged by the enemy but Victory cheered as the emptied a broadside into the French flagship Foie Gras, blowing out Admiral Villeneuve's cabin to expose him hiding in the toilet, chain smoking a packet of Gauloise and finishing off a bottle of brandy. However the battle continued as the Victory became entangled in a forest of French and Spanish rigging. Nelson took the opportunity to sort out his dry cleaning with Captain Thomas Hardy and showed off his latest uniform. As Nelson strutted his fancy stuff on the deck of the British flagship for Hardy, a French marksman in the rigging of the nearby (and very whiffy) L'escargot d'ail , spied Nelson and fired his musket with deadly accuracy. Nelson fell over and whispered to Hardy:-
Don't forget there is a deposit on these clothes..I think they have got me this time Tommy. Damn the French. There was nothing wrong with my mainmast I tell you...
Nelson was brought below where a huge crowd of idle sailors watched him die. It took ages, about three hours by which time he got the news that the French and Spanish were surrendering as quickly as they could find any white rags to fly from their masts. By now Nelson was close to death and probably delirious. Perhaps mistaking Thomas Hardy for his beloved Emma he said:
Kiss me Emma..Kiss me everywhere that is still on one piece. A sad Thomas Hardy then tried to correct Nelson's mistake (it was a death scene in poor light after all). Admiral. I am Hardy , Thomas Hardy sir. You know, the writer and my books 'Mayor of Casterbridge', 'Jude the Obscure'.. Nelson is said to have looked at Hardy and then let one rip from his backside. Oh..those..boring bloody books Hardy. Anyway, you will have to do. Kiss me Hardy and make sure it isn't a filthy French tongue job either..
Hardy gave Nelson a quick little pucker and with that , the heroic Nelson died. His body wasn't chucked over the side like other casualties from the battle. Instead (despite some protests) , Nelson's corpse was dropped into a barrel of confiscated French brandy and then it was lashed to the mast with the label Nelson's Brandy: Vieille Reserve.1805.
Death and Glory
News of Nelson's victory and death was greeted with sadness back in Britain. His preserved body was ceremonially eaten by the Royal Family and his bones were given full military honours and buried in St.Paul's Cathedral. The cask of brandy that had contained his body was then given out to the sailors who had carried the coffin. His estranged wife Fanny sent her condolences and a letter to the admiralty confirming all monies owed to Nelson would go to her and not Emma 'Slut-Hamilton'. The British authorities agreed and the luckless Emma was given the empty barrel which had contained Nelson's body plus some of the clothes her lover had worn on the fatal day.
It took many years to agree what sort of monument suited Nelson's memory. Eventually it was decided that a tall Corinthian style column with two large domes at the base would be erected near Whitehall in London. In 1840 the area was cleared and renamed Trafalgar Square but the semi-spheroids were never constructed. Eventually four bronze lions cast were from the captured fancy bedsteads of French and Spanish sailors and placed around the column instead. Apparently Queen Victoria hadn't been amused by the crude symbolism (though if it had been a column in praise of Prince Albert , that would have been different).
Once it was finished , a statue of Nelson was placed on top. Once again there was a dispute about which pose best summed up the great man. A popular poll at the time suggested Nelson should be shown looking through his telescope . However in light of Nelson's well known habit of being something of a peeping Tom , the telescope was left out when the statue was eventually finished . Despite this , Nelson stills looks in the direction of France which had been the source of his initial humiliation but also , the land that had given him a run of crap admirals to beat up in battle. It is just a shame Nelson now has to deal with a different type of manure everyday: From runny bum pigeons perching on his hat.
Why the French Lost
Well firstly: They're French but also the French battle cry was :
"To the water, it is the hour!" "A L'eau, c'est l'heure!"
According to French writer Victor Hugo, Nelson just got lucky in his many battles and that it was the sporting French who had given the English admiral so many chances. Napoleon had wanted to know if this 'man who beats me on water' would come across the channel and join the winning side. So the story goes Emma Hamilton was Napoleon's secret agent but that she had spoiled French plans by falling for the old sea dog.
Officially Nelson died childless so his empty brandy bottles and war trophies went to his younger brother. However Nelson and Emma Hamilton did have two daughters of which one, Horatia, survived long enough to get her first Royal Navy Romper suit. The British government insisted this all be hushed up to avoid any hint that Nelson wasn't a perfect hero so one the British admiral's old drinking buddies Vice Admiral Charles Thompson said officially he was the father of Emma's children and that he had named the girl Horatia in 'admiration of Nelson'.
The British press bought the story and Nelson was left alone to play happy families with Emma Hamilton and his daughter until his death in 1805. Why this cover up was ordered was never made clear (this was at a time before the Victorians got all prudish about sex after all) and left Horatia a bit confused about who her real parents were and believed Emma Hamilton wasn't her mother, preferring to imagine that she was the daughter of a European princess. But there was no doubt who her father was as Horatia grew up to look just like her famous dad - except with breasts of course.
Many years later when Britain wanted to join the European Union, France, Spain and Denmark all asked for an official apology from the British for employing Nelson as a pirate. They even wanted Nelson's descendants to make a public grovel but in the end nothing came of this. For the last time, a British Government stood up from the floor and defended Nelson's reputation. They also said it was 'just too much of a bother' to look up Horatia's descendants and then made a few late night, drunken phone calls to the 'right people'. The matter was eventually dropped.
Some Little Known Facts About Nelson
- He was a little bit famous in his own time, being God and everything.
- After losing his arm at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he invented the "half-Nelson" wrestling move as a matter of necessity for survival when up against hairy arsed sailors.
- To this day, one can escape speeding tickets in England by claiming to be a descendant of Horatio Nelson.
- He was the first person to invent 'The Ratio'. The mathematical concept used to work out a circle's area, circumference, etc.
- In memory of Nelson's death, all sailors were required to wear black underpants for 18 years as a sign of mourning.
- See Emma Hamilton's diaries for the full entry. 'The Day My Nelson Came For Me'. (Shyster & Shyster 1981).
- In the cricketing sense that is. Rumours that Nelson had his 'sails trimmed for unmentionable adventures' is a base French lie.
- 'Her words were (in translation) :..I see you are dismasted in my presence Horatio ! My poor little mizzeny paramour. The woman's name has not been recorded by history or Nelson.
- Nelson's vaccum pump and what he did was originally called The Chatham Method, after the British naval port at the time. Later on the name was changed to Chartham to avoid the link and embarrassment that Nelson was not 'fully rigged'.
- All this supposed Nelsonian information seems to be rather biased and in no way should it be used as historical evidence when taking an exam in the subject
- Nelson's manouevre was the equivalent of performing a three point turn in your bath
- At least for an Englishman.
- Nelson didn't have many vices but this was one of his persistent 'hobbies'. It became such a Nelson trademark that his crew gave him an extra long, brass telescope to increase the magnification.
- The Spaniard who bit off Nelson's arm kept his prize in a whisky jar at his bar for many years. He later sold it to Napoleon who said he wanted to inter it in the Pantheon as a trophy of war.It was later lost when Napoleon was exiled to St.Helena.
- Nelson's arm was said to have the tattoos 'Brandy for the Admiral' and 'I Keep My Porthole Closed At All Times'
- François-Paul 'Stumpy' Brueys got his nickname during the battle when both his legs were blown off by cannon balls earlier in the battle. He enjoyed this new sobriquet for about 15 minutes before his ship was reduced to burning matchwood,
- Scuttling or sinking your own ship was a habit all other naval powers thought to be 'the right thing to do'. The French were very good at this - Toulon 1942 was one of the last examples. The Germans did the same at Scapa Flow in 1919 and during World War Two. In Britain , sinking your own ship earned you an automatic firing squad on the poop deck of a ship.
- All British war heroes were given a pub on their promotion to the House of Lords.
- Emma Hamilton's man eating reputation had already seen her get through two archbishops,three members of the British cabinet and various aristocrats in barely 10 hours. However with Nelson she met her love match and they were subsequently locked together for the next four days.
- Emma's diary was later obtained by the Daily Mail and published with wood cut illustrations.
- The Little Mermaid later sued the British government - and won!
- Fanny (despite her name) wasn't keen on sharing the love or bed of Nelson with Emma Hamilton. She later said that Nelson had 'coarsened' whilst being away and blamed it on That Hamilton Woman.
- An old British naval perk, last used by King Charles II when he got over merry with the sherry and had blasted Nell Gwynne in the direction of Westminster Abbey.
- I forgot to add Brazilian-American football player Nelson Rockefeller.
- Nelson kept a voodoo doll of Villeneuve in his cabin and the address of his overseas bank account in the Cayman Islands.
- The signal to the fleet has gone down in history. And I mean real history and not that sanitised muck that is given to students today where there are no blood and guts battles to re-enact in the classroom.
- Nelson had hoped he would have enough time to beat the enemy and be back in Britain for King George III's surprise birthday party. Hence his new uniform
- The 'smelly snail' to the English
- He hated reading..he really did.
- Nelson chose Hardy as Head Kisser of his ship because he liked his 'full,soft feminine lips.'
- King George III said Nelson's marinated body was 'too salty' and common.
- The monument wasn't the first phallic symbol in honour of Nelson. One was also erected in Dublin until the I.R.A. dynamited it 1966 to 'emasculate British Imperialism'.
- If the column had been built for Prince Albert, it would have also included a ring piercing it near the summit.