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Nelson's foolhardy pursuit of a polar bear. 'I wished to
kill the bear that I might carry the skin to my father'
>>two bomb vessels, Racehorse and Carcass, sailed up the Thames for a special refit he found it. The bombs, already immensely strong vessels, were to be strengthened to withstand pack ice, as they were going on an expedition to the Arctic. The object of the expedition was to sail as close as possible to the North Pole and, yet again to look for a north-east passage to the Pacific. Nelson wasted no time in applying to join the expedition. His personal appeal to Captain Lutwidge, of the Carcass, one of the expedition ships, and the influence of Suckling gained him the position of Midshipman in Carcass, despite still being only 14 years old.
The expedition was not a success, the ships were soon fast in the ice near Spitzbergen and achieved nothing of importance. However, at one time there was grave danger of the ships being crushed and evacuation plans were laid. Nelson was to command a boat and twelve men, but the ice receded and the ships were freed. It was on this trip that Nelson first displayed the reckless bravery with which he was to attack anything that stood between him and his goal. Deciding that a polar bear skin would be a fine present for his father, he set out to get one, armed with a musket. He succeeded only in making one polar bear very angry and he had to be rescued by cannon fire from the Carcass. It was the begining of the Nelson legend.
<< Part One - The Legend Begins
I have got hold of the 7 volumes of his papers and the later edition of letters to his wife