Horatio Nelson did not enjoy robust good health. From his childhood he was prone to many of the ailments so common in the eighteenth century, and after he joined the Navy he contracted fevers that further undermined his strength: he was even seasick whenever he first put to sea. Nevertheless, he saw more action than most officers, and was often wounded the loss of the sight in one eye and a shattered arm were the most public, but by no means his only injuries. This personal experience of sickness made him uniquely aware of the importance of health and fitness to the efficient running of a fleet, and this new book investigates Nelson s personal contribution to improving the welfare of the men he commanded. It ranges from issues of diet, through hygiene to improved medical practices. Believing prevention was better than cure, Nelson went to great lengths to obtain fresh provisions, insisted on cleanliness in his ships, and even understood the relationship between mental and physical health, working tirelessly to keep up the morale of his men.
SEASICK ADMIRAL Nelson and the Health of the Navy
An excellent book well researched and written, this is a scholarly investigation into Nelson’s ailments both those suffered in action and to those that we common in the 18th century. Nelson recognised that the fitness and morale of his troops was the trump card for victory over the enemy. Many other people contributed to what became a revolution in naval health but because of his heroic status Nelson’s influence was hugely significant, a role which this book reveals in detail for the first time.
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