Timeline: Horatio Nelson


29th September: Horatio Nelson born at Burnham Thorpe, Norfolk.


26th December: His mother, Catherine Nelson, dies.


March: Joins the Raisonnable as a midshipman, aged 13.

August: Sails to the Caribbean on a West Indian merchant ship.


Returns to England.


June to September: Sails on an expedition in search of an Arctic route to the Pacific on the Carcass with the Racehorse. The expedition does not find the route and the ships are nearly crushed in pack ice.

November: Sails for the East Indies in the 20-gun frigate Seahorse; does not return home for two and a half years.


Invalided from his ship with malaria. War of American Independence begins.


9th April: Passes examination for Lieutenant.

19th July: Arrives at Port Royal, Jamaica in the frigate Lowestoft.


August: Appointed Post-Captain, meaning that his future promotion was certain.


February: Sails for Leads a disastrous land expedition into Nicaragua, where everything went wrong and 75% of the crews died of fever.

1st December: Sent home from Jamaica with malaria; arrives at Portsmouth.


American War of Independence ends.


March: Sails for the West Indies to take part in peace-keeping duties.


May: Nelson meets Frances (Fanny) Nisbet.


11th March: Marries Frances Nisbet at Nevis.

July: Sails with Frances for England where he is on half pay as there is no war on.


26th January: Re-employed and appointed to command the Agamemnon against the French, who have just executed King Louis XVI in the French Revolution.


January to August: Campaign in Corsica; his right eye is injured in July.


Appointed Commodore and joins the Captain.


14th February: Plays decisive part in the Battle of Cape St. Vincent in the Elephant. Promoted Rear-Admiral, created Knight of the Bath.

24th July: His land attack on Santa Cruz, Tenerife is a disastrous failure. His right arm is severed by a musket shot during the boat action.


1st August: On HMS Vanguard, Nelson destroys the French fleet in Aboukir Bay, Egypt and leaves Napoleon's French army stranded in Egypt.

22nd September: Arrives at Naples, Italy.

23rd to 26th December: Rescues the Neapolitan Royal Family and the Hamiltons from Naples, which is under attack by the French.


May: Nelson returns to England, bringing his mistress, Emma Hamilton, and her husband, William. They return overland via European cities; the trip takes six months.

6th November: Returns to Yarmouth in Norfolk to a hero's welcome, is given the Freedom of the Borough, attends a service in St. Nicholas' Church and speaks on the Wrestlers' Inn balcony.

8th November: Meets his wife Frances in London after a parting of three years and ends their relationship. He spends Christmas with the Hamiltons at Fonthill Abbey.


1st January: Promoted Vice-Admiral.

5th February: Horatia born to Emma Hamilton.

6th March: Joins Admiral Parker at Yarmouth in the George.

2nd April: Defeats the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen in HMS Elephant and arranges a truce with the Danish King.

6th May: Becomes Commander-in-Chief of the Baltic.

1st July: Returns to England and lands at Yarmouth. Visits the Naval Hospital.

15th August: Failure of attack on Boulogne.


26th April: Nelson's father, the Rev Edmund Nelson, dies.


6th April: Sir William Hamilton dies.

16th May: Britain declares war on France. Nelson is appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.

18th May: Nelson becomes Captain of HMS Victory.


14th December: Spain declares war on Britain.


April to July: Chases Admiral Villeneuve, the head of the French fleet, to the Caribbean and back across the Atlantic.

18th August: Nelson arrives at Portsmouth and returns to Merton on leave.

14th September: Rejoins the Victory.

28th September: Joins the British fleet off Cadiz

21st October: Nelson destroys the combined French and Spanish fleets off Cape Trafalgar but is killed in the action.


8th January: Nelson's body is taken in a waterborne procession from Greenwich to the Admiralty building at Whitehall.

9th January: Nelson's funeral takes place after a four-hour funeral procession to St. Paul's Cathedral, London.

Visiting Us:

Visits usually take between one to two hours. There is full wheeled access to the galleries, shop, toilets and Maritime Courtyard. We also have a car park directly adjacent to the museum.

Admission Fees:

  • Adults £4.25 (over 16)
  • Concessions £3.75 (OAP, students)
  • Children £2.50 (Over 3, under 16)
  • Family ticket £12.95 (2 adults, up to 4 children)
  • We offer discounted rates for pre-booked groups
    Contact the museum for further details on
    01493 850 698

Opening Times:

    1st Feb - 19th Nov

  • Monday - Thursday 10am - 4pm
  • Friday - 1pm - 4pm
  • Saturday - CLOSED
  • Sunday - 1pm - 4pm
  • Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
  • It is advisable to contact the museum before your visit as opening times maybe subject to change.

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