Nelson voted greatest British military hero of all time

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The naval leader, who became a national icon after his death in the battle of Trafalgar, comfortably topped a poll whose results covered more than 800 years of British military history.

They ranged from Richard the Lionheart, whose exploits on the Crusades earned him fourth place on the list, to Lt Col Herbert "H" Jones, posthumous winner of a Victoria Cross for charging Argentine positions during the Falklands War in 1982, who came eighth.

Admiral Lord Nelson, who received 27 per cent of the vote, was known for bold action and a disregard for orders from his superiors.

He pulled off an audacious victory at the battle of the Nile in 1798 when he sailed his ships between the shore and the unprepared French fleet who were expecting an attack from the opposite direction.

Three years later Nelson, who lost his right eye and arm in combat, destroyed the Danish navy at Copenhagen after ignoring a signal to disengage by placing a telescope to his blind eye with the remark: "I really do not see the signal."

His finest hour came in 1805 when he inspired his men to victory at Trafalgar with the message "England expects that every man will do his duty".

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