Posts Tagged ‘Horatio Nelson’

Thomas Hardy was born in 1769 and entered the Navy in 1781 as a captain’s servant. However, he left Naval service the following year and went back to school. He rejoined the Navy in 1790 as a midshipman and served in the Mediterranean. By 1796 he had obtained the rank of first lieutenant in HMS Minerve. This was the flagship of Commodore Horatio Nelson and the first time that Hardy had met the man who was to become his lifelong friend. Harding was captured following a battle with the Spanish while serving as a prize master but was quickly exchanged for the captain of the price ship. In 1797 as commander of HMS Mutine, he took part in the Battle of the Nile and was promoted to captain. He transferred to HMS Vanguard, at that time Nelson’s flagship. Two years later he was appointed as captain of HMS Princess Charlotte and returned to England. The following year he was appointed to HMS San Josef and departed for the Baltic, but soon transferred to take up the role of flag captain on Nelson’s HMS St George. Following the Battle of Copenhagen, Hardy served as flag captain to Admiral Charles Pole. Taking command of HMS Amphion the following year, he returned to Portsmouth where he found Nelson waiting to go to the Mediterranean. Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, was not ready to sail and so Nelson transferred his flag to HMS Amphion and he and Hardy set off a Gibraltar. They eventually transferred to Victory the following year. In September 1805, he sailed for Cadiz in Spain and the Battle of Trafalgar. During the battle, Nelson was shot by a sniper and Hardy held his dying body. The Admiral asked Hardy how the battle had gone and then instructed him to take care of Lady Hamilton. His final request was ‘kiss me Hardy’ and his lifelong friend obliged. Nelson died shortly afterwards. Hardy was created a baronet, transferred to HMS Triumph and sailed for North America. Transferring into HMS Barfleur, he was flag captain to Sir George Cranfield Berkeley, his father-in-law. In 1815 he was awarded the Knight Cmdr of the order of Bath and the following year was promoted Commodore and commander-in-chief of the South America station. In 1825 he was appointed Rear Admiral and served in Portugal and the Channel fleet. In 1830 he became first Lord of the Navy and was a strong promoter of the introduction of steamships. He resigned in 1834 and became governor of Greenwich Hospital, was promoted Vice-Admiral in 1837 and died at the hospital in 1839. He is buried in the hospital grounds.

The statue and monument are in the chapel at Greenwich Naval College.

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The launch of HMS Trafalgar

HMS Trafalgar was a 120 gun ship of the Line built at Woolwich in 1840-41. In an age of great change for the Royal Navy she was the last ship of her type to be built. She was launced by a neice of Admiral Lord Nelson in the presence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert using a bottle of wine taken from the stores of HMS Victory at the time of the battle of Trafalgar. 100 Trafalger veterns were on the ship for the launch. She took part in the bombardment of Sebastapol in the Crimean war in 1854. She was converted to screw propulsion in 1859 and retired from active service in 1873. She was renamed HMS Boscawan and sent to Portland Harbour to act as a training vessel. She was retired in 1906 when the training school moved to a land base in East Anglia.

Figurehead from HMS Trafalgar (Admiral Lord Nelson). Now in Historic Dockyard Portsmouth

Figurehead from HMS Trafalgar (Admiral Lord Nelson). Now in Historic Dockyard Portsmouth

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Memorial to Admiral Lord Collingwood in St Paul’s Cathedral

Cuthbert Collingwood was born in Newcastle in 1748 and joined the Navy at the age of 12. His first experience of military action was surprisingly on land as in June 1775 he served at the Battle of Bunker Hill near Boston Massachusetts as part of a naval contingent. In recognition he was promoted to lieutenant that same day. From the North American station he transferred to the West Indies and it was here that he first met Horatio Nelson – the two were to become firm and close friends. In 1779, Collingwood served on HMS Hinchinbroke as first lieutenant under Capt Nelson and succeeded him as captain, when Nelson was transferred to a larger ship. He subsequently commanded HMS Pelican, which was lost in a hurricane, and the 64 gun ship of the line HMS Sampson. In 1786 he was paid off and put on half pay and he returned to England.

With the resumption of war in 1793, Collingwood was recalled to naval service and fought at the Battle known as ‘the glorious first of June’ as Flag Captain to Admiral Bowyer on HMS Barfleur. The Admiral was seriously injured during the battle and his command past to Collingwood. After the battle Collingwood was transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet and took part in the blockade of Toulon. He was present at the battle of Cape St Vincent where again he fought alongside his friend Nelson. He was made Rear Admiral in 1799 and Vice Admiral in 1804 and served in both the Mediterranean and Channel fleets.

Cuthbert Colingwood By Henry Howard (died 1847) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cuthbert Colingwood By Henry Howard (died 1847) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1805 he was second-in-command to Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and his ship HMS Royal Sovereign was the first British ship to see action in the battle. It was badly damaged and eventually had to be taken in tow. On learning that Nelson had been killed, Collingwood transferred to HMS Euralyus and assumed command of the fleet. He was subsequently appointed Commander of the Mediterranean Fleet replacing Nelson, charged with protecting British interests in the Mediterranean and blockading French and Spanish ports.

In 1810 he was granted permission to resign his commission on the grounds of health and return to the UK. However he died at sea on 17 March whilst still on his way home from Menorca. His body lay in state at Greenwich before being buried in St Paul’s Cathedral close to his long-time friend and colleague Horatio Nelson.

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The launch of HMS Trafalgar

HMS Trafalgar was a 120 gun ship of the Line built at Woolwich in 1840-41. In an age of great change for the Royal Navy she was the last ship of her type to be built. She was launced by a neice of Admiral Lord Nelson in the presence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert using a bottle of wine taken from the stores of HMS Victory at the time of the battle of Trafalgar. 100 Trafalger veterns were on the ship for the launch. She took part in the bombardment of Sebastapol in the Crimean war in 1854. She was converted to screw propulsion in 1859 and retired from active service in 1873. She was renamed HMS Boscawan and sent to Portland Harbour to act as a training vessel. She was retired in 1906 when the training school moved to a land base in East Anglia.

Figurehead from HMS Trafalgar (Admiral Lord Nelson). Now in Historic Dockyard Portsmouth

Figurehead from HMS Trafalgar (Admiral Lord Nelson). Now in Historic Dockyard Portsmouth

A visit to Portsmouth allowed me an opportunity to spend a couple of hours in the historic naval dockyard. The main purpose of my visit was to see the new Mary Rose exhibition, which had opened since I was last there. I will post about the museum once I have sorted out the photos that I took on the day.
On the way to the new exhibition hall, I had to pass HMS Victory and whilst I did not have time to go on board (this will have to wait for another day) I thought I would still do a couple of posts on the history of the ship.

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HMS Victory is a hundred and four gun ship of the line which was built at Chatham starting in the year 1759. It was only one of 10 ships of this size that were been built in the 18th century. The name Victory was chosen to replace the ship of a similar name which had been lost at sea with all hands in 1744. The keel frame was laid, but then work came to a halt and was not restarted until 1763. Two years later Victory was finally launched, but by now the war was over and she was moored on the River Medway as part of the reserve fleet and didn’t receive a commission until 1778. In her role as Admiral’s flagship she saw action at the first and second battles of Ushant (1778/1780), the siege of Gibraltar(1782) and the Battle of Cape St Vincent(1797) where she was the flagship of Admiral Jervis. Interesting to note that one Capt. Horatio Nelson was also present at this battle commanding one of the ships in Jervis’s fleet. As a result of this battle Victory was declared unfit as a warship and returned to Chatham dockyard where she saw service as a hospital ship. But in 1800 work was started to return her to warship status.

Gunports on HMS Victory

Gunports on HMS Victory

HMS Victory -Stern Cabins

HMS Victory -Stern Cabins

On 31st July 1803, Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson raised his flag on Victory when she joined his fleet in the Mediterranean. On 19 October, she was involved in the Battle of Trafalgar, during which she was badly damaged and Nelson was killed. As a result of the damage susytained she was towed back to Gibraltar for re-fitting. Back in active service she continued to serve as an Admiral’s flagship until she was finally withdrawn from service in 1812, and sent to Portsmouth harbour to act as a depot ship.