Facebook X YouTube Instagram Pinterest NetGalley
Google Books previews are unavailable because you have chosen to turn off third party cookies for enhanced content. Visit our cookies page to review your cookie settings.

Britain's Last Invasion (Hardback)

The Battle of Fishguard, 1797

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 18th Century

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



History Hit

An article written by the author for Dan Snow's History Hit: 'When Was the Last Time Britain was Invaded?'

You'll be £19.99 closer to your next £10.00 credit when you purchase Britain's Last Invasion. What's this?
+£4.99 UK Delivery or free UK delivery if order is over £40
(click here for international delivery rates)

Order within the next 8 hours, 46 minutes to get your order processed the next working day!

Need a currency converter? Check XE.com for live rates

Other formats available Price
Britain's Last Invasion Paperback Add to Basket £12.99

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.

This brief, fruitless maneuver was the last time an army of invaders set foot on mainland Britain. It's a story worth remembering, and Carradice has pulled together the facts and fictions of the incident in a very readable text.

Read the full review here


This is an interesting story.

World Ship Society - Marine News, November 2020

Mark Lardas, League City, Texas

Wargamers may find it contains enough information for a miniatures campaign on the subject. Britain’s Last Invasion is a delightful read, offering a detailed and entertaining account of an obscure and curious invasion.

Nautical Research Journal 66:1 (March 2021)

As featured by

Nautilus Telegraph

Phil Carradice has put together a well considered and approachable book on a somewhat obscure and little known event in British history. It is the kind of book that anyone who has visited or knows the area or who just has a general interest in British history can quickly appreciate even without knowing about the Revolutionary era in detail. He gives more than enough for you to understand the context of the events but without weighing down the reader with too much superfluous information. It is definitely not a chore to read this book, the language is clear, concise and he communicates the core concepts in a non-condescending manner. He does a good job at weaving local legends in and out of the story and giving context to why they may have arisen in the first place and why they have continued to enchant and be part of the story ever since... Phil Carradice has shone his torch on this three day invasion of a corner of Wales but has lit up so much more in the process.

Read the full review here

The British Empire

I have read a number of books and articles written by Phil Carradice before as he writes a lot about Welsh events and parts of history, his work is always very written, clear and researched. So I looked forward to reading this piece of work and I should probably say here that I live in Fishguard and have done for the past 7 years. This event, the invasion in the grand scheme of things is a very minor event but having lived in Fishguard for a while it is actually a big deal and all the primary schools cover the event in some way.

In a nutshell a few ships landed in Fishguard with French soldiers on board, half of them gave up because they weren’t ‘proper’ soldiers and gave up. The rest were kind of hoodwinked into thinking the British force was bigger than they thought and so they all surrendered. Now this is all very well explained and we have excellent detail, I would happily recommend this to others as it is a balanced, accurate account. For an event that is not very well known nationwide it was an excellent read, and anyone new to the subject would enjoy it very much.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

This is an excellent account of the last (to date!) time hostile foreign troops landed on British soil.

Read the full review here

History of War

A well told and stirring tale using a lot of contemporary accounts, of a small yet remarkable episode overshadowed by the greater canvas of the Napoleonic wars.

The Nelson Dispatch

Featured in

The Nelson Dispatch

"The book is a well told and stirring tale using a lot of contemporary accounts, of a small yet remarkable episode overshadowed by the greater canvas of the Napoleonic wars."

The Nelson Dispatch

As featured by

Ships Monthly, December 2019

As featured in

The Bookseller, October 2019

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

Read the full review here

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.

Read the full review here

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.

Read the full review here


The material he has gathered is informative and entertaining.

Read the full review here

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 (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.

The Last Invasion of Britain

22nd February 1797

The Last Invasion of Britain, launched by the French during the Revolutionary Wars, begins near Fishguard, Wales

View all events View all anniversaries

More titles by Phil Carradice

Other titles in Pen & Sword History...