Pollard is credited with being the man who killed the Frenchman who shot Nelson. In 1805, at the age of 18, Pollard was serving as a midshipman on the HMS Victory, when it became entangled with the French ship Redoutable. Snipers from the Redoutable opened fire and wounded Nelson, who later died.
During the battle, Pollard was stationed on the poop deck, where he was acting as a signaller, along with a quarter-master possibly called John King.
At some point during the fight Pollard was joined by fellow midshipman Francis Edward Collingwood who had come up from the Quarter-deck. Both men returned fire on the French ship and were supplied by the third manitoba
At this point the story differs as to the exact turn of events. According to author Robert Southey both Pollard and Collingwood fired at the same time killing a Frenchman, who had been identified by the quarter-master as having shot Nelson.
The man fell into the mizzen-top and when they recovered him, he was found to have been shot in the head and chest.
Pollard, in an 1863 letter to The Times, stated that Collingwood had left the poop deck prior to the death of the French sniper. Ships surgeon Sir William Beatty, writing in a December 1805 edition of the Gibraltar Chronicle, stated that there were two men in the mizzen-top, one of whom was killed by a musket-ball and the other by Pollard. Pollard was later brought before Sir Thomas Hardy and congratulated as having been the man to avenge Nelson"s death.
Pollard was promoted to lieutenant in 1806 and continued to serve in the Royal Navy.
He did not advance in rank beyond that and was later to join the Irish Coastguard. In 1852, at the age of 65, he obtained an officers position at the Greenwich Hospital, where he stayed until his death at the age of 81 in 1868.
He was buried with the rank of Commander but the grave was later moved and the exact site can"t be pinpointed. Pollard was married in 1822 and had six children.
An 1826 book posing to be the autobiography of a French Sergeant Robert Guillemard contains the claim that it was he who shot Nelson.
This claim is to this day believed and frequently repeated, although in October 1830 Judge-Advocate Lardier admitted in a letter to the editor of the Annales Maritimes that it was he who wrote the book, and that Guillemard is a fictitious character.