Monday, 26 February 2018
Did he or didn't he? Lord Nelson in Simon's Town...
The year was 1776, and young Nelson was a midshipman serving in the East Indies aboard HMS Seahorse. He contracted malaria and was deemed so ill he had to return to England to recover fully.
During the 6 month journey home, his ship, HMS Dolphin, called in to Simon's Bay where it stayed for a month. There is no record that he left his sickbed and came ashore, but perhaps he couldn't resist the chance to feel Africa beneath his feet - and experience some local hospitality. Or perhaps he needed nursing ashore?
If not, then there is some conjecture that he visited again about 3 years later. At the time he was posted in the Americas as Commander of HMS Badger, seeing action off the east coast of central America. Apparently his ship called in to Simon's Town...
Poor Nelson suffered many wounds during his long and famous career, the most serious being the loss of his right arm and the sight in his right eye. He overcame those, but the malaria that he contracted as a young man never left him. It recurred several times, and it is a testament to his stamina that neither illness nor injuries prevented his later triumphs.
In The Girl from Simon's Bay, Ella Horrocks travels out to South Africa some 200 years later to find the woman her father loved during the 2nd World War.
And where did she stay? I couldn't resist it.
At The Lord Nelson Inn, of course!