Author: Phil Carradice
Published: April 2019
The history of Britain has been shaped by those who have invaded this small isle: the Romans, Vikings and Norman Conquest all moulded our society and culture. Surprisingly, the last time mainland Britain was ever invaded was not Duke William’s victory at Hastings in 1066 or even the Bloodless Revolution of 1688. It was, in fact, in February 1797 when 1,400 drunken and out-of-control French soldiers from the Legion Noire landed on the north coast of Pembrokeshire near Fishguard.
With ‘Britain’s Last Invasion’ dive in to the Battle of Fishguard, a military invasion of Great Britain by Revolutionary France. The little-known ‘invasion’ consisted mainly of drunken Frenchmen rampaging around the area, burning churches and terrorising the locals. The role and courage of the women of Fishguard is revealed: when the men fled, the women stayed fast. Learn how the town cobbler Jemima Nicholas – armed with only a pitchfork – captured twelve enemy soldiers.
The attempted invasion lasted just three days, but had ramifications that we are still dealing with today. Following the attempt, the government recognised the need to strengthen the British fleet, a policy that lasted for over a hundred years and almost certainly helped prevent Napoleon’s later planned invasion.
Read the Nautilus Telegraph's review of Britain's Last Invasion