Magazine article History Today

Sept 29 1758: Birth of Horatio Nelson

Magazine article History Today

Sept 29 1758: Birth of Horatio Nelson

Article excerpt

The most revered hero in the history of the Royal Navy grew up in the North Norfolk countryside, where his father, Edmund Nelson, was the rector of Burnham Thorpe. His mother, Catherine Suckling, was the daughter of a London clergyman. He was their fourth surviving child and his mother had brought the family some useful connections. Catherine Suckling's grandmother was a sister of Sir Robert Walpole, George II's prime minister, and the name Horatio came from Horatio, second Lord Walpole, the new baby's godfather.

Meanwhile, Catherine Suckling's eldest brother Maurice was making an exciting career in the navy. It was news of his exploits that inspired his physically frail, but lively-minded, nephew.

Young Horatio was sent at first to the grammar school in Norwich. His mother died when he was nine, leaving her eight children to the care of her inadequate husband. A spirited boy, he made up his mind to go to sea and, in March 1771, he joined Captain Suckling's ship, the Raisonnable, as a midshipman. …

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