Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson KB (1758 - 1805) was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. Admired for his leadership, strategy and tactics, he led many decisive British naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. Known for his bold actions, and sometimes disobeying his seniors, Nelson was taken into the hearts of the British people. This slightly built, battle-scarred, often vain man, of dubious private life and few known accomplishments beyond his profession, became a legendary figure in British history. When Admiral Horatio Nelson died, people who had never seen him wept because they felt they had lost someone special and irreplaceable. How that came about, this book describes.
Nelson helped to capture Corsica and saw the battle of Calvi (where he lost the sight in his right eye). He later lost his right arm at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife in 1797. Nelson destroyed Napoleon's fleet at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, and thus gained a direct trade route to India.
Over the period 1794 to 1805, under Nelson's leadership, the Royal Navy proved its supremacy over the French. Nelson's most famous engagement, at Cape Trafalgar, saved Britain from threat of invasion by Napoleon, but it would be his last. Before the battle on 21 October 1805, Nelson sent out the famous signal to his fleet 'England expects that every man will do his duty'. Killed by a French sniper just a few hours later, while leading the attack on the combined French and Spanish fleet, Nelson's body was preserved in brandy and transported back to England where he was given a state funeral. He is buried in St Paul's Cathedral, London.