Dead Admirals Society Goes Rogue: Nelson Must What?

I wasn’t going to get involved in the whole ‘Nelson Must Fall’ thing, which seems to me to be no more than a blatant piece of historically illiterate attention seeking by somebody clinging to the coattails of the ‘Confederate statues’ controversy across the pond: and anyway, my old chum Andrew Lambert has demolished this particular piece of preposterousness much better than I ever could. So instead, here are a few more candidates to provoke further snowflake outrage.

Admiral Sir Robert Holmes, Yarmouth church, Isle of Wight. Captured slave forts from Dutch; did not free slaves. Captured marble statue intended for, and portraying, Louis XIV; cut off king’s head and stuck his own on it instead. Also stole literally ships-full of wine. Pull him down, we say.


Colonel Richard Nicholls, Ampthill Church, Bedfordshire. Captured New Amsterdam from Dutch; did not grant it immediate independence and indefinite right to bear arms, but instead named it after notorious slave trader James, Duke of York. (So, yes, New York is ALL HIS FAULT.) Plus monument contains cannonball that killed him at Battle of Solebay: clearly tasteless and likely to traumatise children called Persephone or Oscar. Cover it up now!


Admiral Sir John Narbrough (1640-88), Knowlton, Kent. Went to South America to find gold and terrorise natives. Went to Caribbean to find gold and ignore natives. You may have nice putti, but you’re now politically incorrect in spades. Hide it behind a contemporary art installation.


And finally… Corrupt by his own admission. Purveyor of fake news on an industrial scale. Serial abuser of women, again by his own admission. All together now – #pepysmustfall




  1. Irwin Bryan says:

    Pepys? I thought he was your hero! Or did you just get caught up in the moment?!


    • J D Davies says:

      All tongue in cheek in this particular blogpost…but having said that, although Pepys is a huge figure in naval history, he’s never really been my hero, as my new book Kings of the Sea will demonstrate!



    Quite agree. I think that rather than pull down statues, an interpretation board detailing a more rounded picture of the character portrayed placing them in the context of the times in which they lived would be much more instructive. Removing statues does not change the past.


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