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Fishguard invasion

Fishguard invasion, 1797. In one of the more bizarre episodes of the Revolutionary War, the French Directory collected 1,200 men, mainly from gaols, and landed them from three frigates and a lugger near Fishguard on 23 February 1797. They surrendered two days later to the local militia under Lord Cawdor, their commander, an American named Tate, explaining that he thought it ‘unnecessary to attempt any military operations as they would tend only to bloodshed’. According to local legend, the invaders mistook the red coats of the Welsh women for cavalry. Though the military threat was negligible, the panic in London was enough to cause a run on the Bank and to drive Britain off the gold standard.

J. A. Cannon

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