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  • Bear 1 Nelson 0

    On an early polar expedition to find the North West passage in 1773 Midshipman Horatio Nelson had an encounter with a polar bear which he had attempted to shoot but his musket misfired. He then tried to club it with the butt. He was lucky to escape.

    If the bear had got him what effect would it have had on British naval history? No Nelson touch, no blind eye no new tactics? Or would someone else have stepped up to the mark?
    Perhaps someone like his contemporary Sir Sidney Smith who when serving under the Swedish flag in 1790 won the Battle of Svensksund taking or sinking 64 Russian ships for the loss of four Swedish ones. Unfortunately a number of British naval officers serving with the Russian fleet died including a friend of Nelson's.. Nelson loathed Smith (and the feeling may have been reciprocated) and Smith thought he had stood in the way of his career. The two men were similar in a number of ways - both could be exceedingly vain and theatrical at times, both inspired enormous loyalty from those who served under them, both were excellent seamen and both could win battles. Nelson is famous and Smith largely forgotten (although Napoleon did refer to him as the man who made him miss his destiny because of Smiths actions during the siege of Acre). If Nelson had vanished into a hungry polar bear could someone like Smith have filled his place in history? Or perhaps Edward Pellew? Did the Royal Navy have enough talent that the early loss of Nelson would have made no fundamental difference?
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    There'd be an unnamed square in London.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by johns624 View Post
      There'd be an unnamed square in London.
      No, it would still be called Trafalgar Square. After all, there would be a Column dedicated to Cuthbert Collingwood, the admiral who won the battle, in the centre of it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Doveton Sturdee View Post

        No, it would still be called Trafalgar Square. After all, there would be a Column dedicated to Cuthbert Collingwood, the admiral who won the battle, in the centre of it.
        Not sure I'd be very keen on that. Collingwood is the name of a very prominent Aussie Rules club in my home city. They are the most hated club in Australia, and I am one of the haters. Not sure a 'Collingwood column' would endear the square to millions of Her Majesty's loyal subjects.
        Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BF69 View Post

          Not sure I'd be very keen on that. Collingwood is the name of a very prominent Aussie Rules club in my home city. They are the most hated club in Australia, and I am one of the haters. Not sure a 'Collingwood column' would endear the square to millions of Her Majesty's loyal subjects.
          You'd be really depressed on Tyneside where there are many streets and monuments with this Geordie admirals name on them.
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MarkV View Post

            You'd be really depressed on Tyneside where there are many streets and monuments with this Geordie admirals name on them.
            I'd probably be depressed on Tyneside with or without Collingwood references. One more reason not to visit.
            Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MarkV View Post

              You'd be really depressed on Tyneside where there are many streets and monuments with this Geordie admirals name on them.
              Interestingly, the Aussi Rules Collingwood team (of which I am a fan) are known as "the Magpies" due to their black-and-white colours.
              Newcastle United F.C. (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) are also "the Magpies" as they wear the same colours. Whether this is by accident of design,I don't know,probably the latter.
              My wife is a Geordie.
              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
              Samuel Johnson.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

                Interestingly, the Aussi Rules Collingwood team (of which I am a fan) are known as "the Magpies" due to their black-and-white colours.
                Newcastle United F.C. (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) are also "the Magpies" as they wear the same colours. Whether this is by accident of design,I don't know,probably the latter.
                My wife is a Geordie.
                Is there no place in this world safe from Pies fans? I once saw a bloke who looked very much like a local wandering along Orchard Road in Singapore in a Pies jumper. Maybe Outer Monglia......
                Human beings are the only creatures on Earth that claim a god and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one - Hunter S. Thompson

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post

                  Interestingly, the Aussi Rules Collingwood team (of which I am a fan) are known as "the Magpies" due to their black-and-white colours.
                  Newcastle United F.C. (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) are also "the Magpies" as they wear the same colours. Whether this is by accident of design,I don't know,probably the latter.
                  My wife is a Geordie.
                  I believe that Collingwood (the town) was named after the original Collingwood hotel which was named after the aforementioned admiral who was born in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne so that by design seems most probable.

                  Newcastle are a bit of a Marmite club so like Vegemite perhaps Collingwood is trying to emulate the original flavour

                  All of which doesn't answer the original question posted.
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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