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Britain’s last invasion: 220 years

When members of the French La Légion Noire, a military unit of grenadiers, infantry and convicts from the French Revolutionary Army, landed in Fishguard, Wales on 22 February 1797, it marked the start of an event referred to as the ‘last invasion of Britain’ – the most recent landing on British soil by a hostile foreign force.

Plagued by problems from the outset, the French force was commanded by William Tate, an Irish-American soldier, whose mission was part of a plan devised by French General Lazare Hoche to liberate Ireland and harness support for the French uprising from the poor country folk of Britain. Some 1,200 plus French troops descended on the Pembrokeshire coast where they were confronted by a much smaller group of hastily assembled British forces and a hostile local civilian population. As a result of the rapid and constructive British response the invasion quickly lost momentum, and it unravelled even further as ill-discipline and desertion sapped morale. By 24 February, in what proved to be a very brief campaign, Tate had been forced into unconditional surrender...

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Quote of the week

“I will say with certain intention, that I will see my laws strictly obeyed, and those who break them shall be watched and denounced.”

Edward VI of England

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