Today In History... with The Retrospectors

How Not To Invade Britain

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Episode notes

The ‘Last Invasion’ of Britain was not, as most people assume, The Battle of Hastings - but actually a farcical French attempt to conquer the Pembrokeshire town of Fishguard on 24th February, 1797. 

Windy weather had already scuppered the first two prongs of this failed three-pronged attack, which was ultimately overthrown by a rag-bag militia of volunteers, a shipload of discarded booze, and a Welshwoman with a pitchfork.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly ask if the French had any realistic chance of success; explain why their soldiers seemed quite so unmotivated by the task at hand; and pay tribute to the pub at the heart of the surrender… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Battle of Fishguard: The Last Invasion Of Mainland Britain’ (HistoryExtra, 2022):

• ‘Jemima Nicholas, a Fishguard Heroine - People of Pembrokeshire’ (

• ‘The One Show: The French Invasion of Fishguard’ (BBC Wales, 2011):

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2022.

#1700s #War #UK #France

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