Ask most people (including me, before I started doing research for this MOC) what they know about Lord Nelson - the chap on top of the huge column in Trafalgar Square - and they'll probably mention that he only had one arm and one eye, and that he once held the telescope to his blind eye and said 'I see no ships!'
It turns this is a just as much a misquote as the equally legendary 'Beam me up, Scotty.' (No, that wasn't Nelson. Pay attention!) Let's set the record straight...
April 2nd, 1801. The Royal Navy has sent a fleet to 'persuade' Denmark to abandon plans to break the British naval blockade of France. Most of the Danish fleet is in harbour at Copenhagen, and the port is heavily defended. Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson persuades his superior, Admiral Hyde Parker, to let him carry out a bold plan.
Nelson will attack from the south, where the defenses are weaker but the channel is too shallow to admit the largest British warships. Transferring to the 74-gun H.M.S. Elephant, he leads the smaller ships of the line and the frigates into the attack, while Admiral Parker remains to the north with the larger ships to guard against reinforcements from Sweden or Russia.
Each British ship takes up a station about 250 yards away from its Danish counterpart and opens fire.
Nelson's plan relies on the better training and experience of the British gun crews to ensure that each British ship wins its one-on-one battle.
"Hey Bob! I wouldn't stand there to light the cannon if I were you. Not if you're still hoping to have children anyway!"
About 3 hours after the start of the battle, the opposing ships are STILL trading broadsides, and all the ships of both sides have taken heavy damage.
Even the Admiral's cabin didn't escape!
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Admiral Parker, unable to see most of the battle because of the cannon smoke apart from 3 British ships that have run aground and are flying distress signals, raises the signal flags that mean 'retreat.' Nelson acknowledges the signal, but refuses to repeat it to the ships in his squadron.
Then, according to eyewitness Colonel William Stewart, he remarks, 'You know, I only have one eye. I'm allowed to be blind some of the time.' And, putting the telescope to his blind eye, 'I really cannot see the signal. D--n the signal! Keep mine for close action flying. Nail it to the mast!'
Nelson's signal number 16, horizontal red on yellow over diagonal white on blue, meant 'Engage the enemy at close quarters.'
An hour later, with the defenses exhausted and the city of Copenhagen itself in danger of severe bombardment, the Danish Crown Prince asks for peace terms, thus securing the future of the Lego brick.
Nelson returned a hero and the fact that he'd disobeyed a direct order was quietly ignored. Which goes to show you can get away with a lot as long as you're always right.
Slightly self-indulgent ramblings:
So my employer thoughtfully sent me away from my Lego for most of the last fortnight, leaving me 24 hours to put this together - I'm just glad I got a small scale category this round. It's not as polished as I hope it would have been with a bit more time, although given my sci-fi heavy collection I was struggling to think of buildable historical subjects. Still, whether I progress or not I enjoyed doing the research for this one, and the challenge of building something a bit different, as I have all the rounds so far.
So thanks very much judges for all your work organising the competition!
Nelson had a bit of a thing with signals didn't he? The whole 'England expects every man...' was actually 'Nelson expects..' but they changed it because they didn't want to spell out all the words they didn't have standard signals for, including the admiral's name. Great build, you've packed lots into the 8x8 base and got humour into a historical subject too. Good luck Stu!
This is really good! I really like the cross-section-y look of it. You're right, the closest Kirk ever came to saying "beam me up, Scotty" was in Star Trek IV, when he said "Scotty, beam me up". Just like "Luke, I am your father"...