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The Young Nelson in the Americas

By Tom Pocock

Nelson’s immortal victories were won in the seas around Europe but it was the America and West Indies station that formed him as a sea officer and a fighting commander.

These adventurous years, so crucial to his development, have never before been studied in depth. Even before he became a midshipman he had sailed those seas in a merchant ship and both as midshipman and lieutenant a great part of his time was spent there.

It was there that he met his closest friend and future companion in arms, Cuthbert Collingwood, there that he was shipmates with the Duke of Clarence, the future William IV, there that he met and married his wife. There, too, he formed another close friendship which, many years later, was suddenly to involve him with revolutionaries and traitors, one of whom he was still to regard as a friend.

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