- Bradford, John
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 1997 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
It is dated “VICTORY, October 20th. off Cadiz, Sunday evening”.
“My most dear and honor’d Parents.
“As I expect to be in Action tomorrow morning with the Enemy of our Country, the idea of which I assure you gives me great pleasure, in case I shall fall in the noble cause have wrote these few last lines to assure you that I shall die with a clear conscience, pure heart and in peace with all men. Have only a few requests to make, first that you will have the goodness to thank and make my kind respects to all Friends (more particularly my very good friend Sir Thomas Thompson) for their kind attention to me. Secondly that you will not give way to any uneasiness on my account and further that you my dearest of Mothers will not give way to those low spirits which you are subject to, consider that your affectionate son could not die in a more glorious cause and that it is all the fortune of war. Have no doubt that had I survived the glorious day should have met with the reward due to my merit from worthy friends and a Good Country. Have requested every profit arising from my stock to be given you with my Desk as a small tribute of affection. Shall conclude this last with my kindest Duty to you my honor’d parents, love to Sister, Brothers, and praying the almighty to receive my soul. Remain your ever dutiful and affectionate Son.
“PS – I must once more request you not to forget my second wish”.
This letter is most remarkable both for its quiet courage, and for its unhesitating confidence that the coming day will be “glorious”, and for an anticipation of death so strong as to make one wonder whether he can possibly have left the letter after writing the first few lines and finished it after receiving his fatal wound. It is recorded that both the poor boy’s legs were shot off, and that he might have lived, but tore off the bandages and bled to death. This letter helps one to understand Nelson’s confidence in his men, and the heroic way his sailors “did their duty” in the famous fight of Trafalgar.
From the Aldenham Church Magazine, December, 1905.