Lord Admiral Nelson's last words and death
Photo of Nelson's statue at his crypt in the center of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. There is some historical debate over the last words uttered by Lord Admiral Nelson before he died in the hold of HMS Victory. By most accounts, his last words were "Thank God I have done my duty." And by all accounts he did repeat those words over and over until he passed away. By some accounts of those who attended him, Nelson's dying words were, "Drink, drink. Fan, fan. Rub, rub." They were requests to help alleviate his thirst, the tremendous heat of the hold and the pain of his wound. Nelson, though, had waved off medical attention for he knew he was dying and he preferred his men be treated instead. After he died, instead of being buried at sea, his body was put into a barrel and filled with rum to preserve it for the voyage to England. There is a legend that the sailors had taken illicit drinks of the rum from the barrel so that it was only half full. More than likely, the story is not true because of the respect accorded Nelson by the sailors and by the fact a Marine stood ceremonial guard duty over his body. However, it is the sort of detail that seems fitting to include on this blog. His funeral procession was immense. If ever a man had captured England's heart entirely, it was Nelson. St. Paul's Cathedral is reserved, along with Westminster Abbey, for those of renown. Nelson's tome is directly under the center of the dome in the crypt.