Story that Nelson took a cat named Tiddles into battle was a hoax
For many years, authors, naval historians and tour guides have believed that Lord Nelson went into battle at Trafalgar accompanied by a fearless pet cat called Tiddles. An appearance on breakfast television earlier this month has led to the shock discovery that Nelson's cat was, in fact, a hoax perpetrated 15 years ago by a National Trust employee called Guy Evans.
Stephen Fry uncovered the scam after mentioning Tiddles during a BBC interview to plug the DVD of his quiz show QI. A few days later, he received a letter from Evans's widow, Anna.
'I ought to tell the world that Tiddles is a myth,' it read. 'He first appeared in a letter written by my husband to The Spectator in 1990. He followed it up in an article in the Nelson Society Journal, with very convincing and entirely fictional footnotes.
'From there, Tiddles snowballed to become part of popular folklore and has featured in books, magazines and academic journals.'
Fry's producer, John Lloyd, says this has surprised even tour guides on HMS Victory. 'We research questions exhaustively at QI, and we have never come across something like this before,' he tells me.
comments powered by Disqus
- Supreme Court reveals that the docket books of many justices survive -- and are being made available
- Poll: Majority Of Americans Say Obama Is Mixed Race, Not Black
- New technology helps paleontologists see Ice-Age bee in intricate detail
- History textbooks in crosshairs of Australia's curriculum wars
- Archaeologists' findings may prove Rome a century older than thought
- She Came All the Way from Melbourne to Attend the OAH
- The 7 Most Popular HNN Videos from the 2014 OAH
- Jesse Lemisch’s up-from-below history is still strikingly original
- U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War -- His second Pulitzer!
- UW Professor Stephanie Camp, 46, feminist historian, dies