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Admiral Horatio Nelson and The Duke of Wellington Written for Children

Admiral Horatio Nelson    The Duke of Wellington

Admiral Horatio Nelson and The Duke of Wellington are the two greatest figures in British military history.
Both won important victories in the Napoleonic wars which served to both preserve England from invasion, and to finally put an end to the dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte. Nelson was a naval commander and Wellington was an army general. Therefore, their triumphs were on sea and land.

Admiral Nelson was born in the village of Burnham Thorpe on the 29th of September, 1758. He became a sailor at the age of twelve, serving on his uncle's ship, HMS Raisonnable. After many years of serving in the British navy under great hardship, he finally won recognition through his ability as a commander and his talent for inspiring others to do their best. This won him great respect and admiration among the British people and the navy in particular.

Admiral Nelson commanded the Mediterranean fleet in 1805 when it joined in blockading a combined French and Spanish fleet that was in port in Cadiz, on the coast of Spain. It was important for the British fleet to defeat this force in order to keep it from supporting any invasion of the British Isles by foreign armies, or to interfere with British interests in the Mediterranean region.

Though outnumbered, Nelson counted upon using unusual tactics to offset the combined fleet's greater forces. Rather than attack the French and Spanish fleets in the traditional way, he planned to sail his ships at right angles to the enemy and therefore break their fleet into two parts, the better to defeat one portion of them before turning his attention to the other. The tactic worked, and the Franco-Spanish fleet was defeated. Sadly, Admiral Nelson was mortally wounded during the battle and died just hours afterward.

The Duke of Wellington was born Arthur Wellesley in Ireland in 1769. After attending military school he joined the army in 1787. Wellington won his most famous victory against Napoleon some years later, at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon had recently escaped from the island of Elba, where he had been imprisoned. The dictator was trying to win military victories in Europe once again in order to reestablish himself as Emperor of France. It was important to defeat him in his attempt just as it became important during World War II to defeat Hitler, because both men were tyrants. On the 18th of June, 1815 at Waterloo, Wellington's army and the Prussian army, who was Britain's ally, met Napoleon's army.

The Duke of Wellington held his ground against many nasty French attacks until the Prussian army was able to break through Napoleon's lines. At that moment, Wellington ordered his men to counter attack the French forces and thus routed Emperor Napoleon for good and all. Napoleon surrendered his title and claim to the throne, and was imprisoned once again by the British to the island of St. Helena in the middle of the south Atlantic ocean, where he died in 1821. Thus Wellington played an important part in ending the threat of a tyrant to Great Britain and Europe.

Later, Wellington became Prime Minister on two occasions, and served the British government as a leading member of the House of Lords afterwards. He died in 1852.

This is an original news article © The Kids Window

One in a series of articles of articles about British history, see our range of historical dress up costumes.  

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