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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Royal Navy Legend

In October 1805 Royal Navy sailors drank the blood of the dead hero Horatio Lord Nelson - or so the legend goes.

Shocked? Well, there is a little more to the story and no disrespect is intended to members of the Senior Service.

As we all know, Nelson was a brilliant Admiral and by virtue of his outstanding abilities and superior tactics, he overcame a superior enemy force of Spanish and French ships at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Standing on the deck of his flagship HMS Victory, savouring the certainty of victory in the battle, Nelson was struck down by an enemy sniper and died of his wounds.

It was a long way back from Cape Trafalgar to the nearest port in England and burial at sea was not an option for a national hero. Instead, his crew placed his body inside a barrel of rum to preserve it during the long voyage home.

When HMS Victory made dock in England, Nelson's pickled body was removed and received a state funeral. Only then was it discovered that the sailors had bored a hole in the bottom of the barrel and slowly drained the rum along with a drop or two of Nelson's blood.

To this day, Royal Navy sailors know rum as "Nelson's Blood".

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