Horatio Nelson attacking a Spanish ship before bombarding Cadiz, 1797. Engraving by A. Smith, 1809, after R. Westall.
- Westall, Richard, 1765-1836.
- May 1809
About this work
"On the night of 3-4 July an attempt was made to bombard Cadiz from a bomb-vessel, protected by ship's boats. A few days before, some British boats had shown marked reluctance to come to close quarters with the Spanish gunboats. When they counter-attacked this time, Nelson in person led the British boats in his barge. There was desperate hand-to-hand fighting, in which Nelson's life was saved by his coxswain John Sykes, who put out his own arm to receive a cutlass blow aimed at Nelson's head. Nelson mentioned Sykes in his dispatch (an almost unheard-of honour for a rating) and got him promoted. Once again Nelson had shown extraordinary personal courage and risked his life in circumstances where no flag officer would normally be found"--Oxford dictionary of national biography. John Sykes is assumed to be the same as John Sykes 1770 or 1771-1858