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Britain's Last Invasion (Hardback)

The Battle of Fishguard 1797

British History

By Phil Carradice
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 217
Illustrations: 30
ISBN: 9781526743268
Published: 25th April 2019



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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.

Excellently written, by a talented writer, with some great illustration, this informative and entertaining deserves a wide audience.

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Hellbound, Steve Earles

Combined with an illustrative black and white plate section in the middle, this is an interesting and entertaining look at the ill-advised invasion.

The Armourer, September 2019

As a broadcaster and a prolific author one might expect this book to be an entertaining read – and indeed it is. Looking at the extensive bibliography which includes numerous primary sources it is clear that the author has gone to considerable lengths to compile a definitive account. The combination of exciting story-telling and meticulous research marks this book out as a worthwhile and enjoyable read. Do just that and then walk the ground. You won’t be disappointed.

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Walking the Battlefields, Phil Curme

This is an excellent read and will be of great interest to a broad range of readers from Napoleonic war historians, Welsh history and for those just interested in a great and unusual yarn. One is constantly reminded of the Clausewitz dictum that “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. But what was the plan?

Robert Bartlett review, 2019

The author has produced a very readable account of the events around and developing from the French landing at Fishguard. There is a photo=plate section illustration that presents rare and unexpected images in a very interesting collection.

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The material he has gathered is informative and entertaining.

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Books Monthly

About Phil Carradice

Phil Carradice is a well-known writer and historian with over 60 books to his credit. A poet, story teller and broadcaster, his most recent books are “The Cuban Missile Crisis” (for Pen and Sword), “The Call Up” (Fonthill) and the novel “Stargazers” for Accent Press. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio and TV, presents the BBC Wales History programme “The Past Master” and is widely regarded as one of the finest creative writing tutors in Wales.

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