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.
The Battle of Trafalgar was Britain's greatest naval victory and Atkinson's greatest challenge. Canon fire shot away Victory's mizzen-topmast and the ship's wheel, disabling her steering. Atkinson went below and with the help of First Lieutenant John Quilliam, he operated the tiller from the gun room throughout the battle.
Before the battle Nelson had promised Atkinson promotion but this could not be fulfilled, Nelson being fatally wounded by a French sniper. After returning Nelson's body to Chatham, Atkinson was honoured by being picked to attend the state funeral. On January 16 1806, he signed off on the last page of the log book: "At Sun Set. Hauled down the Pendant, the Ship being out of commission. Thomas Atkinson, Master". He never sailed as Master again.
He was subsequently appointed King's Harbour Master of Portsmouth, a post he held until his death in 1836. With his wife Agnes, he had a family of three sons, each of whom obtained Royal Navy commissions, and three daughters.
Atkinson's silver Nile Medal is inscribed " from Alexr Davison Esqr. St James's Square, A Tribute of Regard". Nelson appointed Alexander Davison as sole prize agent for the ships captured at the Battle of the Nile and Davison had medals struck from the profits he obtained.
Specimens in gold were presented to Nelson and his captains. Silver versions went to lieutenants and warrant officers, gilt copper medals went to petty officers and the seamen and marines' medal was copper.
It will be sold together with the Baltic Medal, 1856 engraved "W.G. Atkinson, Master's Assistant HMS Arrogant" and a Greenwich Hospital Nautical School Medal for Science and Good Conduct engraved "H.N. Atkinson 1857".
Horatio Atkinson joined the Navy in 1817 passing his examinations in 1824. He is listed as receiving "severe gunshot wounds" at Seringapatam, as well as displaying "the upmost gallantry" during the capture of two Greek vessels in the Negropont Channel.
He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1827 and served in the Mediterranean until 1836, where he witnessed the establishment of King Otho on the Throne of Greece and was presented with a sword by Mahemet Ali.
The three medals have been sent for sale by a private collector and naval historian who is a past archivist/librarian of The Nelson Society.
He has conducted extensive research into Thomas Atkinson and the Atkinson family, which will sold alongside the medal. It includes copies of family history listings, wills, marriage certificates, Thomas Atkinson's record of service as well as facsimiles of the musters for ships HMS Blonde and Rattler, together with pay books for HMS Hannibal and Rattler on which Thomas Atkinson served.
For further information, please contact Chris Large at Peter Wilson on 01270 623878 or firstname.lastname@example.org.