Wednesday, 30 November 2011

"Kiss me Hardy"............. Admiral Lord Nelsons dying words at Trafalgar

The Hardy Monument.

Hardy is the man Admiral Lord Nelson asked to kiss him as he lay dying at the battle of Trafalgar.
The monument above is a 72 foot tall stone tower built in 1844 in memory of Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839) who served on HMS Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The monument is situated on a high chalk hill overlooking the English Channel in the Blackdown area near Portesham in Dorset. 
It was restored in 1900 by his descendants and given to the National Trust  in 1938.

Admiral Lord Nelson struck down on the deck of HMS Victory at Trafalgar.
During the fight with Redoubtable the soldiers and sailors in the French rigging fired at men exposed on the Victory’s decks. A musket shot hit Nelson knocking him to the deck and breaking his back. 
He was carried below to the midshipmen's berth where he constantly asked after the progress of the battle. Hardy was able to tell him before he died that the Fleet had taken 15 of the enemy’s ships. Nelson knew he had won.
Did Nelson ever say the words "kiss me Hardy" ?

There is little explanation required for the words as there were at least three eye-witness accounts that record that Nelson did actually ask Hardy to kiss him.
These witnesses were  Surgeon William Beatty... Chaplain Alexander Scott and Purser Walter Burke. These three are portrayed in the painting Death of Nelson by Arthur Devis considered to be the most authentic (the nearest thing to a photograph of the occasion) and they can be seen within inches of the dying Admiral and would therefore have heard what was said.

On normal occasions it could be assumed that one witness might be mistaken but when three independent accounts agree  there is little room for doubt over what was said.
Beatty also records that Hardy not only kissed Nelson once but twice... first on the cheek then stood up... looked down at his dying Leader and friend reluctant to leave him.
He then bent down again and kissed him on the forehead.
Nelson was sinking fast by then and could not see clearly... he asked: "Who is that?" to which came the reply "It is Hardy".
 Nelson replied "God bless you, Hardy"



TexWisGirl said...

a sweet and interesting tidbit of history, there.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

That is an interesting story that no doubt any British schoolboy would know just as an American would be familiar with what...remember the Alamo? I had heard the phrase Kiss me Hardy but did not know of its origin.

Pantherka said...

A great and interesting posts from history.

Chatty Crone said...

Needless to say - I never knew all that - but I love history so you made my day. Wonder what it really meant?

And I love the photos as usual.


Dianne said...

What a touching story Andrew -
a lovely little snippet of history.

bettyl said...

That's a great post. Thanks for all the info to go with your fabulous photo!

missing moments said...

Very interesting history facts ... along with some nice artwork!

Laura~Pretty Pix said...

Fascinating, Andrew, I love history. Thanks so much for sharing. Really wonderful post!

ADRIAN said...

That has put my mind at ease.
Hardy was a person.

Liz said...

Great history lesson and wonderful photo of the monument!

Bob Bushell said...

Nice monument photo and the history.

overtiredmum said...

I've never thought about who hardy was although I do know the story. Looks like he has a wonderful place to be remembered though.

CameraCruise said...

Great post.
Beautiful photo of the monument.
Have a great weekend.

Sylvia K said...

What a terrific and interesting post for the day, Andrew!! Love your capture of the monument and thank you for history! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Thanks as always for your visit/comment! Much appreciated!


FotoAnna said...

Great post and a great capture Andrew!
Happy SWF and greetings,
Anna (Netherlands) :-)

Mormor said...

I enjoyed this post.
Thank you.
Greetings from Norway

Ebie said...

Hardy stands so stately and tall! Beautiful skysscape!