Why is Nelson celebrated as a hero?
Nelson – triumph over adversity… Nelson played a vital role in securing Britain’s freedom 200 years ago, both stopping the terrifying threat of invasion by Napoleon’s France and establishing British naval supremacy for the next century. Born in Norfolk in 1758, Nelson joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman at 12 years old. By the age of 21 he was a Captain and had sailed half way round the world from India to the Americas.
He went on to inspire his men to victory in several major sea battles including the Nile, Copenhagen and of course Trafalgar. As a leader, he was charismatic, courageous and a genius at reading the battle in that most unpredictable of arenas – the sea. Nelson was controversial and not without his critics but his life still inspires many people across the globe.
His qualities of courage, leadership, perseverance and humanity are as relevant today as they were 200 years ago. Nelson’s story unites triumph over personal adversity with victory over the enemy. He suffered many hardships during his career, including a spell of long-term unemployment.
But even losing an arm and being blinded in one eye in battle did not stop him from fighting on heroically until his death in action at Trafalgar in 1805.