The last French invasion

Posted by Tory Historian Friday, February 22, 2008 ,

Tory Historian is always happy to learn something new. For instance, casual survey of the internet informs one that today is the anniversary of the last French invasion of Britain. Well, no, it is not the anniversary of the last successful invasion - that remains the Norman one of 1066 (though whether the Normans were actually French is debatable).

This is a wonderful story of French ships arriving at Fishguard, being scared off by the canons and landing troops and ammunition nearby.

On Wednesday, February 22, the French warships sailed into Fishguard Bay, to be greeted by canon fire from the local fort. Unbeknown to the French the cannon was being fired as an alarm to the local townsfolk, nervously the ships withdrew and sailed on until they reached a small sandy beach near the village of Llanwnda. Men, arms and gunpowder were unloaded and by 2 am on the morning of Thursday, February 23rd, the last invasion of Britain was completed. The ships returned to France with a special despatch being sent to the Directory in Paris informing them of the successful landing.
One wonders what happened to the special dispatch. The whole thing sounds like something out of "Carry On - Don't Lose Your Head".

It would appear that after some looting and a heavy meal with a great deal of drinking the French troops were easily rounded up by the local militia led by Lord Cawdor, who were helped by the women of Fishguard in their traditional Welsh costume. One lady, Jemima Nicholas otherwise known as Jemima Fawr (Jemima the Great) captured 12 of them, using only a pitchfork.

Incidentally, does anybody know whether this story is true?


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