Did English sailors drink the spirits from the cask that the Lord Nelson was stored in while en route to England for his funeral? The answer is likely not. Nelson’s tomb was kept under constant guard. But who is to say that some curious sailor didn’t sneak a drink while no one was around?
To prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that this did not happen is not easily done. Consider that there was the practice of sucking the monkey in the Royal Navy. This was where a sailor would drill a hole in a cask full of spirits and suck the contents with a straw. As it sounds, it was incredibly dangerous and many died from alcohol poisoning.
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, AKA Lord Nelson was shot by a French sniper during the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. He died later from his wounds.
William Beatty, the ship’s surgeon decided to preserve Lord Nelson by preserving his body for the long voyage back to England, in brandy. Brandy is an alcoholic spirit made by distilling wine. It is usually around 50-60% alcohol.
Nelson was one of England’s biggest naval heroes. He commanded the British fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. The spirits preserving his body had to be topped off several times during the trip to England.
“Tapping the Admiral”
The tale of sailors drinking the rum being used to preserve the deceased body of Lord Nelson is so widespread that some pubs in England named drinks after it. One example is “Tapping the Admiral”.
Lord Nelson is a legend in English naval history. Did the sailors aboard the HMS Victory drink the spirits pickling the Admiral’s body? Maybe, but probably not.
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Did English Sailors Drink Lord Nelson’s Body? was first posted on February 20, 2021 at 2:25 am.