jump to navigation
  • Napoleon in Wales November 17, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback


    Beach recently offered up the gem of a story that Göring, of all people, had hidden out in a British bomb shelter in the second world war. At that moment he alluded to the fact that in a previous period the British had been convinced that Napoleon himself had visited Britain on the eve of his (as it happens) never realized invasion: ‘When Napoleon lay at Boulogne for a year with his flat-bottomed boats and his Grand Army’.

    Many a time it was passed from mouth to mouth that the little Corsican masqueraded as a British seaman and was actually on board a south-coast fishing smack, trolling at sea by night and spying on shore by day.

    That the Emperor might hang about in an old fishing vessel spying on the British might just make sense in a very strange universe. But what about the wonderful idea that he had decided not to visit southern England but rather that he had travelled to Wales. The story was told by a Mr. James Neild who travelled in Radnor when he was mistaken as old Boney in 1803.

    They have got a strange notion in Wales that Bonaparte has escaped from France, and is lurking among the mountains, so that they eye every stranger particularly; and (would you believe it ?) absolutely took me for the First Consul, and challenged my guide. I observed a great buzz among the women, and being informed of the cause went up to them, and assured them I was old enough to be Bonaparte’s father. One of them fortunately observed, that she had taken particular notice on my first entrance into the town, of my eyes, and that Bonaparte squinted. They say he was born in Wales, and that two of his brothers were transported. The Times, 24 Sep 1803, 3.

    Other instances of Napoleon in Britain: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com