Why did the French land in north Pembrokeshire In 1797 and how were they defeated so quickly

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Last updated: April 12, 2019

Near my home town of Fishguard a man called William Tate landed on the North Pembrokeshire coast in Carreg Wasted. This was the last invasion of main land Britain. The invasion did not work the French were defeated quickly.

The question we have to ask is why did then land in north Pembrokeshire? And How where they defeated so quickly? In 1797 the French revolution broke out with the battle of Bastille in Paris. Later, in 1793, the revolutionaries captured the monarchs, King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, they were both executed.Source a2 shows King Louis XVI getting executed, this is useful as it shows the execution but it is only a sketch so it doesn’t show the horror of the actual execution. A new Revolutionary Government now controlled France. The British Government was now worried.

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After seeing what had happened in France, they believed that their people could do the same and rebel against them. This meant Britain had to take action. In 1793, Britain declared war on France. After this, a military man named Lazare Hoche, he planned a three pronged attack.He planned to attack Ireland in hope that they would rebel against Britain and have their freedom.

He planned to send ships to north England to get support for the revolution and to distract British troops. The third part of the plan was to send troops to Bristol; they planned to burn the city to the ground. The first and second plans failed due to bad weather. The third plan went ahead, it is not known why Lazare Hoche went ahead with the third plan, maybe he didn’t mind if William Tate got killed.The third plan was to travel up the Bristol Channel, land in Bristol then burn the city to the ground. As the French fleet approached the Bristol Channel, they were spotted making their landing in Bristol impossible without threat of attack by British Troops. Jemima was a welsh woman.

In 1797 she got some women together and they dressed up in red and white clothes like the British army. It is said that Jemima, along with other local women, marched around Bigney, a local mountain in Fishguard.When the French saw this they immediately thought it was the British army. Source D6 shows ‘Jemima captures twelve French soldiers’ from the Invasion Tapestry. This is useful as it shows she did take part in the revolution but it is not very reliable as it does not show how many exactly. .

It also demonstrates how well known Jemima was and still is in the local area of Fishguard. The man chosen to lead the third expedition was a man named William Tate. He was an American man who was very anti-English.Source A3 is a letter from General Hoche to the French Revolutionary Government in 1796. The letter is asking for the permission and support of the new French Government. On one hand this is useful because of who wrote it, on the other it is lies due to the phrase “full of ability”. In source c2 we see a letter written by Thomas Knox, Knox had no military experience, but in the letter we see that he knew what he was doing.

The source is useful because it was written at the time of the invasion and Thomas Knox was at the main point of the invasion.Another British strength was Colonel Colby. Colby, unlike Knox, Colby was a man with military experience. Once involved, Colby took command instantly.

He sent a letter to London informing them of the invasion. He then sent for every military force within the local and surrounding area to come to Fishguard. All of these actions show good organisation.

It’s clear that Jemima helped the British army beat the French. But the British army should be given more credit for what they have done. The French probably wouldn’t have been defeated otherwise.

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