PortCities London
UK Bristol Hartlepool Liverpool London Southampton
You are here:  PortCities London home > Historical events
Text Only About this Site Feedback
Explore this site
About maritime London
Early port
Tudor and Stuart port
18th-century port
19th-century port
20th-century port
People and places
Port communities
Crime and punishment
Leisure, health and housing
Thames art, literature and architecture
The working Thames
London's docks and shipping
Trades, industries and institutions
Port of science and discovery
Historical events
Ceremony and catastrophe
London in war and conflict
Fun and games
Things to do
Timeline games
Matching games
Send an e-card

The state funeral of Lord Nelson, 5-9 January 1806

The death of Nelson
Bringing Nelson home
The lying in state
River procession
Street procession
Funeral service
Nelson's tomb
Send this story to a friend Send this story to a friend
Printer-friendly version Printer-friendly version
View this story in pictures View this story in pictures

The death of Nelson

The Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805.
View full size imageThe Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October 1805, by J. M. W. Turner. © NMM

Felled by French fire

Vice-Admiral Nelson was shot by a French musketman at about 1.15 p.m. on 21 October 1805, when the Battle of Trafalgar was at its height. 

He was on the quarterdeck of his flagship, HMS Victory, with his friend Captain Thomas Hardy. 

Nelson was carried to the ship's 'cockpit', below the waterline, where the wounded were treated in relative safety.

The Death of Nelson, 21st October 1805.
View full size imageThe Death of Nelson, 21 October 1805. © NMM

Death at the moment of victory

After more than three hours of agony, Nelson finally died at about 4.30 p.m.

That was shortly after Hardy had told him that they had won a great victory over the combined fleets of France and Spain.

Nelson's Trafalgar Coat.
View full size image Nelson's Trafalgar Coat. © NMM

The usual practice was to bury at sea all those killed in battle. But Hardy and the Victory's officers knew that the country would wish to honour Nelson's remains.

They decided to preserve his body in a barrel of brandy so that it could be taken home to Britain.


A Sailor's Observation on the Lamented Death of Lord Nelson
View full size imageCaricature entitled 'A Sailor's Observation on the lamented Death of Lord Nelson'. © NMM

Joy and sorrow

The news of Nelson's death caused widespread sorrow in his fleet.

The men's joy at the victory - one of the most decisive in naval history - was overshadowed by the news of their admiral's death.

Many broke down and cried, so much had they loved him.

Page 2 of 8. Previous page Next page

Find out more
Fact fileHoratio Nelson
A Naval hero
GalleriesRanks in Nelson's navy
The crew of a typical warship from the Napoleonic era, from the officers to the common sailors
Related Resources
Related Images 3 Images
National Maritime Museum/Royal Observatory Greenwich New Opportunities Fund  
Legal & Copyright Partner sites: Bristol Hartlepool Liverpool Southampton About this Site Feedback Text Only