Trafalgar Battle Surgeon: William Beatty

January 2021

In this special episode Dr Sam Willis explores the life of William Beatty, the surgeon on HMS Victory who tended Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Beatty’s life prior to Trafalgar is examined and his work put into context with primary sources that illustrate the life and work of naval surgeons in the age of sail, in their own words. This episode is designed to provide historic context for our previous episode, an interview with Jo Laird, a medic in today’s Royal Navy, who launched a successful crowdfunder campaign to purchase William Beatty’s medicine chest and donate it to the Haslar Heritage Group.