22.02.

1797: The Last Military Invasion on the Coast of Great Britain

1797: The Last Military Invasion on the Coast of Great Britain
Photo Credit To http://s210.photobucket.com/user/delbuoy/media/invasion.jpg.html

The French landing on this day occurred in the town of Fishguard in Wales. It seems that the local peasants also rose up against the French troops. There is a legend that the local Welshwoman Jemima Nicholas, armed only with pitchfork, captured 12 French soldiers.

On this day in 1797 began the last military invasion of Great Britain in the history of that island. Namely, the French revolutionary troops landed on the British coast then in an attempt to carry out a march to the city of Bristol. Although the United Kingdom participated in wars in the following centuries, foreign forces never again managed to successfully deploy its military troops on the British coast (not even in the era of World War II, when the intense air “Battle of Britain” was fought).

The French landing on this day occurred in the town of Fishguard in Wales. The attack was planned by a French General Lazare Hoche, who was, during a short time in the French Revolution, a Minister of War. Approximately 1,400 men, who were part of the so-called Black Legion (La Legion Noire) landed. The leader of the attack was William Tate – an American of Irish origin in French service.

The point of the French attack was actually a diversion. The majority of forces were supposed to be deployed in Ireland in order to support the local Republicans in the fight against the ruling British. The contingent that landed on the British coast on this day was supposed to attract the British forces on that side and keep them in the fight.

By the next morning, the French troops managed to advance from the coast several kilometers inland. However, they were opposed by the local British forces made up of reservists and a sort of territorial defense. Indeed, it seems that the local peasants also rose up against the French troops. There is a legend that the local Welshwoman Jemima Nicholas, armed only with pitchfork, captured 12 French soldiers.

All in all, the French attack was crushed only two days after the beginning of the invasion. The Black Legion troops declared an unconditional surrender. The British coast was never again touched by a foreign military invasion.

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