Peter Wilson To Auction Medal Awarded To Hero Who Served With Nelson Aboard HMS Victory A silver medal awarded to Nelson's flagship HMS Victory who was at the ship's helm throughout the Battle of Trafalgar is to be sold by UK auctioneers on November 9-10. IT is estimated at £10-15,000.
News-Antique.com - Oct 24,2011 - A silver medal awarded to the Master of Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship HMS Victory who was at the ship's helm throughout the Battle of Trafalgar is to be sold by Nantwich, Cheshire, auctioneers Peter Wilson.
It will be offered in a sale of fine art and antiques on November 9-10 and is estimated at £10,000-15,000.
The officer class Davison's Nile Medal was awarded to Thomas Atkinson (1768-1836) whom Nelson described as "one of the best Masters I have seen in the Royal Navy".
Atkinson served with Nelson throughout the Napoleonic Wars and is reputed to have held him when Nelson had his arm amputated following the attack at Santa Cruz.
The two men were clearly close friends, Nelson being godfather to Atkinson's son, whom he named Horatio Nelson Atkinson.
Atkinson is pictured in paintings depicting the death of Nelson. He wrote a full account on the incident in the ship's logbook before returning Nelson's body to England on board the Victory for his state funeral.
Yorkshire-born Thomas Atkinson was born in Richmond and joined the Royal Navy aged 20 in 1787. On the declaration of war with France in 1793 he served on various ships, seeing action in the Channel and was present at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797, after which Nelson was made a Knight of the Bath.
Shortly afterwards, Atkinson was appointed Master of the Theseus and served under Nelson on the failed amphibious assault on Santa Cruz, Tenerife, which resulted in the loss of several hundred casualties.
Nelson himself was wounded by grapeshot in the right arm. He was carried back to the Theseus, where Atkinson is said to have helped hold him while the ship's surgeon carried out the amputation.
The following year, Nelson won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile. Theseus was fourth ship to round the French van and attack from an inshore position. In 1799, Atkinson distinguished himself when, despite being wounded, he helped prevent fire caused by an accidental explosion at Acre in Egypt which killed the ship's captain. Although severely damaged, Theseus still made a determined pursuit of enemy ships.
In 1801, Atkinson was Master of the St George, which was present at the Battle of Copenhagen and it was there that Atkinson earned praise from Nelson. The certificate, written in Nelson's own hand, read: "I certify that Mr Thomas Atkinson is capable of being Master of any First Rate and I recommend him as one of the best Masters I have seen in the Royal Navy".
The short-lived Peace of Amiens enabled Atkinson to return to his wife and nine-month-old son, but on March 15 1803, he received a handwritten note from Nelson which read: "I shall be very happy to have you with me should a war take place and will write to the Navy Board to that affect". War with France was declared on May 18, by which time Atkinson was already aboard the Victory, joining Nelson who had