Friday, 10 September 2004
Britain's Last Mainland Invasion
CREDIT: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK. WHAT: the last invasion of mainland Britain.
MAP: Fishguard-Haverfordwest. Thumbnail pops-up larger image.
Tony Richards from LakelandCAM.co.uk has left northwest England for a vacation in southwest Wales. While he is gone, you may catch his daily updates on his secondary web site. Tony went to Pembrokeshire, which is a peninsula jutting out like a thumb from below the fist of Wales into the Atlantic. One of its major inland towns is Haverfordwest, with the castle you see in today's feature thumbnail, and to the north on the coast lies Fishguard, where this tale begins.
In late February 1797, a French force under a septuagenarian Irish-American commander named Colonel William Tate, landed near the village of Llanwnda in Fishguard Bay. Although the attack collapsed in comic circumstances within two days, it is said to be the last mainland invasion of Britain. The French forces plundered the area around Fishguard, and after their commander surrendered he was led away south along byways to Haverfordwest, avoiding the wrath of the townsfolk in the north.
In 1066 a Norman of Viking descent was commander in chief of the French forces when a more successful invasion was mounted, and later celebrated by the famous Bayeux  Tapestry. In 1997, on the two hundredth anniversary of the Pembroke invasion, the Fishguard  Tapestry [images in the Photograph Album section on the WestWales.co.uk web site] was created as part of the continuing tradition of a Franco-British love-hate relationship that has been going on for the past millennium.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)