Lord Nelson letter written before Battle of Trafalgar uncovered in London basement

A LETTER written by Lord Nelson before the Battle of Trafalgar was found in a basement during a house clearance.

The handwritten note was buried among a pile of papers found in the basement of a property in London.


It is now expected to fetch up to £4,000 at auction.

Lord Nelson wrote it with his left hand – after losing his right in battle – aboard HMS Victory off Toulon when he was Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet in 1803. 

He later chased the French and Spanish fleets across the Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans.

The letter, to Captain Boyle, reads: "My Dear Boyles, Your letter of May and June 3rd came to me yesterday.

"I shall have very great pleasure in receiving Mr Sullivan and of taking a very early opportunity of promoting him.

"I assure you my Dear Boyles, there is nothing that you can ask me in my power and grant that I shall not be happy in the opportunity of doing.

"I regret that you have not got a ship but I trust that you have one before this time it would give me great pleasure and have you here but there is no prize money on this station, except through the French fleet which we are most anxiously looking out for.

"I expect them out every day."

He signs off as "your most faithful and sincerely attended friend, Nelson & Bronte".

After a brief return to England, Nelson took over the Cadiz blockade in 1805.

On 21 October 1805, the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port, and Nelson's fleet engaged them at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The battle became one of Britain's greatest naval victories.

But Nelson, aboard HMS Victory, was fatally wounded by a French sharpshooter.

His body was brought back to England where he was given a state funeral.

Pete Liggins, of Dawsons Auctioneers, said: "He is a true British naval hero.

"He'd lost his right arm in battle but resourceful to the last, Nelson subsequently trained himself to write with his left.

"This letter, therefore, adds heroic significance."

The letter will go on sale in London on January 28.

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