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The boy Horatio

We heard about this story, but were reluctant to post about it. Now, however, the parents of the boy Horatio have said what we were thinking.

As you have probably heard, Horatio was a schoolboy who hoped to be a doctor. With two other boys he was attacked by a polar bear, interested in them as prey, in his tent in Norway.

For some reason, the trip wire of explosives, which should have alerted them of an intrusion, did not function. No watches or dogs had been posted.

Two other boys and two adult leaders were badly injured before one of them, Mike Reid, "managed to grab a rifle the group carried for protection from another member of the group" and kill the bear with a shot to his head. Update: Reid managed to make the gun work after it had failed to fire four times.

Horatio died of his wounds.

In their statement, Horatio's parents "also pointed out the irony of their son's death, in that Horatio Nelson, after whom he was named, had also had an encounter with a polar bear on Spitsbergen, an island in the Svalbard archipelago, while on an expedition there as a teenager, in 1773".


We have written about young Horatio Nelson's encounter. In a painting depicting the scene, Horatio is holding a rifle. (Since he knew how to use it, presumably he turned it right way round.)

Young Brits once knew how to use rifles - competently and safely. They had working guns, too.

The young Brits who survived unscathed managed to administer life-saving emergency aid to two badly wounded young men and their two leaders.

Horatio Nelson could have done that, but only modern medicine, to which Brits have made so many contributions, could save them.

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