Harry Watson’s letter (24 June) correcting the mistaken belief that Nelson, rather than Hardy, captained HMS Victory at Trafalgar brings to mind a re-run of the famous death scene.
That much-loved satirist, the late Auberon Waugh, was almost killed when he was hit in the chest by half a dozen bullets in an accident during his national service.
Annoyed when his machine gun jammed, Waugh had seized the end of the barrel and shook it – which unsurprisingly freed the mechanism, which then proceeded to fire.
As they waited for an ambulance, his platoon sergeant bent down to see if he was still breathing, whereupon Waugh whispered the immortal words: “Kiss me, Chudleigh.”
Sergeant Chudleigh – who was not a man of letters – failed to recognise the Nelsonian allusion with the result that from then on he treated Waugh with “extreme caution”.
(Dr) John Cameron