Gold medal awarded to one of Lord Nelson's Band of Brothers for sale

Gold medal awarded to one of Lord Nelson’s ‘Band of Brothers’ who fought with him at Battle of the Nile and helped admiral conduct his scandalous affair with Lady Hamilton goes up for sale for £100,000

  • Vice Admiral Sir Davidge Gould was one captains under Nelson’s command 
  • Gould’s HMS Audacious played key role in victory for the British over the French
  • Medal given to Gould as one of Nelson’s ‘Band of Brothers’. To be sold January 18

A gold medal awarded to one of Admiral Lord Nelson’s ‘Band of Brothers’ has emerged for sale for £100,000.

Vice Admiral Sir Davidge Gould was one of the loyal captains under Nelson’s command at the Battle of the Nile in 1798.

Gould’s ship, HMS Audacious, played a key role in ensuring a decisive victory for the British over the French.

At the end of the battle Gould sent Nelson the message that he had the French ship, Le Conquerant, in his possession.

Vice Admiral Sir Davidge Gould, who later also helped Nelson conduct his scandalous love affair with the married Lady Emma Hamilton, received the Royal Naval Gold Medal for his heroics at the Battle of the Nile

Gould (pictured) was one of the loyal captains under Nelson’s command at the Battle of the Nile in 1798 

He added: ‘The slaughter on board her is dreadful; her Captain is dying. I give you joy. This is a glorious victory. I am, with the utmost respect, yours in haste. D. Gould.’

The Audacious then helped batter the French ships Guerrier and Spartiate into their submissions and destroy L’Orient.

Of the 13 French ships that went into action against Nelson’s navy, all but four were either sunk or captured.

Afterwards Nelson declared that ‘victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene’.

He went on the quote Shakespeare’s Henry V to describe his 14 loyal captains who served under him at the Nile and called them his ‘Band of Brothers’.

Vice Admiral Gould, who later also helped Nelson conduct his scandalous love affair with the married Lady Emma Hamilton, received the Royal Naval Gold Medal for his heroics at the Battle of the Nile.

After 28 years at sea, he was forced to resign his command due to ill-health in 1804 – a year before the famous Battle of Trafalgar where Nelson was fatally wounded.

Vice Admiral Gould was the last surviving member of Nelson’s Band of Brothers and died in 1847. 

Of the 13 French ships that went into action against Nelson’s navy, all but four were either sunk or captured

Afterwards Nelson (pictured) declared that ‘victory is not a name strong enough for such a scene’. He went on the quote Shakespeare’s Henry V to describe his 14 loyal captains who served under him at the Nile and called them his ‘Band of Brothers’


Vice Admiral Gould was the last surviving member of Nelson’s Band of Brothers and died in 1847. His gold medal is now being sold by a private collector at auctioneers Noonans of Mayfair, London

His gold medal is now being sold by a private collector at auctioneers Noonans of Mayfair, London.

Because of his close connection to Nelson, the single medal is valued at £100,000.

Christopher Mellor-Hill, head of client liaison at Noonans, said: ‘The gold medal speaks for itself in that very few of these ever come on the market having survived being melted down for their gold content.

‘They were only awarded to the captains of the HMS ships in such important and successful naval actions. It is being sold by a collector.’

Vice Admiral Gould was born at Bridgewater, Somerset, in 1758, and joined the navy at the age of 13 as a volunteer on HMS Alarm, a 32-gun frigate.

He worked his way up to midshipman and spent four years on HMS Phoenix, taking part in the American Revolutionary War.

By 1782 he was a lieutenant on HMS Conqueror and took part in the British victory at the Battle of the Saintes over the combined French and Spanish fleet.

After that he was made captain and was at the invasion of Corsica in 1794 during which Nelson was blinded in the right eye.

He was then at the Battle of Genoa before he joined Nelson’s fleet in racing across the Mediterranean to reach the French navy at Alexandria, Egypt, in the summer of 1798.

During the voyage Gould was summoned to Nelson’s quarters on the flagship HMS Vanguard to discuss tactics.

The British took the French by surprise and attacked their ships on both sides.

The British took the French by surprise and attacked their ships on both sides

Vice Admiral Gould’s crew overcame Le Conquerant after a desperate close-range fight and took her surrender.

It then helped with the attack on the Guerrier and Spartiate before sinking L’Orient which exploded into a ball of flames with the loss of 1,000 of her crew.

The British victory made Nelson a hero overnight and he returned to Naples, Italy, to great fanfare.

It was at this time he met and fell in love with the married Lady Hamilton.

During a peaceful period in the Napoleonic Wars, Vice Admiral Gould returned to Somerset and married Harriet Willes, eldest daughter of the Reverend William Willes, Archdeacon of Taunton.

On the resumption of hostilities against the French in 1803, he was given command of HMS Windsor Castle and engaged in blockading Brest.

At the age of 46 and after spending 28 years at sea, he was forced to resign his command.

The sale takes place on January 18 after Nelson’s battle plans which led to his Trafalgar victory were up for auction on December 13. 

‘Forget Trafalgar… the Battle of the Nile was Nelson’s finest hour’

Many historians agree that the Battle of the Nile was more significant than Trafalgar, the battle in which Nelson died. It was during this conflict that Généreux was nearly taken by the Lord Admiral’s men but the ship managed to escaped – only to be captured two years later.

In August 1798, the French were at anchor in Aboukir Bay in shallow water, using the shore to protect the south-western side of the fleet, while the north-eastern faced open sea.

Although the ships were chained together, Nelson believed the chain between the last ship in the line and the shore was sunk deep enough to let a vessel pass.

In a daring night-time manoeuvre, his fleet slipped through the gap and attacked the French on their unprotected side.

The battle established Britain as the dominant sea power during the French revolutionary wars and was immortalised in the poem Casablanca, known for its opening line ‘The boy stood on the burning deck’.

Nelson’s flagship during the battle was the Vanguard. Other British ships commemorated by surviving copses include the Minotaur, Defence, Swiftsure, Theseus, Orion, Bellerophon and Alexander.

Stephen Fisher of the National Trust said: ‘The Battle of the Nile in 1798 was one of Nelson’s most significant clashes with Napoleon.

‘Forget Trafalgar, this was Nelson’s finest hour and at the time was his most famous victory.’

Divers pull out a 200-year-old canon (pictured) from the ship wreck of the Orient, the French fleet’s flagship during the Battle of the Nile, in 1999

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