This is the Technical Difficulties,
we’re playing Citation Needed. Joining me today, he reads books y’know,
it’s Chris Joel. Hello. Everybody’s favourite Gary Brannan,
Gary Brannan. Well, I’m cock-a-hoop. And the bounciest man on the internet,
Matt Gray. This is a public service announcement. These public services are closed. Please use the nearest toilets
on the other side of the concourse. In front of me I’ve got an article
from Wikipedia and these folks can’t see it. Every fact they get right is a point
and a ding. And there’s a special prize
for particularly good answers which is… And today we are talking about
the Battle of Fishguard. Is a Fishguard a shield? Yes, they hold it in their little… hands. Good luck with this one, Gary. -Oh, s***.
-We have started well. I meant the battlers, what are they called,
warriors? Let’s call them warriors. Were they warriors holding up fish as shields,
the Fishguard? What, like a flatfish and then a swordfish
in the other hand? Oh! Squelching your way forward and making a… Now, that’s a proper combination. Yeah, or a pike. Oh! F*** you. No, is the answer to all of that,
I’ll just shut that down immediately. I’m going to say Wales. Yes, and have a point. It’s a place? Yes, yeah, I learnt it in a Beano annual. I learned it from the shipping forecast. Well, there we go,
we all have different routes to education(!) This isn’t one, by the way. Yeah, well you’ll say at the end,
“that taught me a lesson.” -Hey!
-Ah. -Beano annual?
-Well, up yours then. The Fishguard is as place in Wales
and this is where the battle took place. No, f***, really? They named the battle after where it happened, unlike all the other battle naming conventions,
which were a good 50 miles away. Just to confuse the future tourists. Yeah, it’s like in World War 2
when they switched the road signs round. That’s a fair point, Battle and actual site of the
Battle of Hastings is debatable for instance. So yeah, it has been done. Battle of Waterloo, you can see the remains
in Waterloo Station to this day. That’s true, you wouldn’t have thought
they’d have it so close to London, would you? I know. It’s just a Friday night before Christmas
and everyone’s trying to get north, it’s just… That’s when Abba fell out. When you’re ready. Oh, they’ve turned. -They’ve turned, they’ve turned.
-It’s a poor audience. This was a battle in Fishguard,
who might have been attacking and when? -Fishermen.
-Actually is it a Cod War? -I was going to go for trawlermen, yeah.
-Yeah. Oh no, no, it’s a little early for trawlers. So it wasn’t an uprising,
oh, was it Vikings? It’s a little late for Vikings. So it’s somewhere between
Vikings and the advent of modern fishing. Where we sit the best. Well, using my extensive historical knowledge… I’m bracing myself, carry on. It’s not Victorian. -What!
-That was the only other time period I know. I’m going to go 13th century. No, it’s… it’s much later,
this was during the War of the First Coalition. Well, is that…
political joke incoming, Is that somewhere around about 2010? This was 1792 to 1797,
who might Britain have been battling then? -Virtually everybody.
-Yes. Tom, does the wheel spin and land,
as it does 50% of the time, on France? Playing the hits, ladies and gentlemen! “We are coming for you.” This was an attempt to land
a force of French troops in Britain to support another invasion. So they went via Wales? -Yes.
-The soft underbelly of England. So where might have been the
primary attack force headed? -Ireland?
-Yes. Oh, hang on. Because Wales, boat wise,
is on the way to Ireland, isn’t it? Sure! Well, because if you’re boating
from the France bit, you get to the Wales bit
before you get to the Ireland bit, don’t you? If you’re coming the right,
top right bit of France? Yes. -He’s… he’s not wrong.
-It often depends on which direction you’re heading,
I suppose, doesn’t it, yeah. -The top left.
-No, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So what was this invasion force intended to do? Invade. That is technically a correct answer. This was a third attempt at invasion,
why did some of the earlier ones fail? Far too windy. Yeah, you’re absolutely right. That’s what you get
for having beans on the journey. “Oh, mais oui, le bilious…” “Le windy-pop, c’est grande.” So the Wales-bound invasion force,
1400 troops from the Black Legion. Oh, “la Légion noire”! Under the command of an Irish American,
Colonel William Tate. Was it the Black Legion from our side? No, this is… well, I’m translating,
La Légion noire. -Sorry, Tate rings a bell.
-It does actually. Did they… did they invade with art? Tate. No, it actually wasn’t recent enough
for modern art. Who clapped? Just once as well, which… Thank you. Well, we’re going to arrange it so each person takes a single clap at each joke,
and on average… Is one clap a greater degree of shade…? 1400 troops invading Wales, essentially. And did anyone ask the Welsh,
were they alright with this? It sounds dreadfully rude. Well, you say that, there was a bit of
response when 1400 troops arrived. What were these troops made up of? Horses? Cavalry. No, infantry. Horses riding men.
That was a real diversionary tactic. 600 were regular soldiers that Napoleon
had not required to conquer Italy. So the B team? Yes, 800 were irregulars,
now what does that mean? Slight factory seconds. Maybe some chips in the glaze but still useful. Irregulars are paid mercenaries, aren’t they? Not quite. Conscripts. Again, not… not quite, it’s more general. So they’re a special force
but not in an SAS kind of way? Yeah, just in, there’s something different
about these folk. They’re special. They’re special as in you
wouldn’t trust them with anything important? -Yes.
-Right. -So we have…
-This is good. We have the B team and we have the irregulars. And actually I am going to give you a point
because it includes: republicans, deserters, convicts
and royalist prisoners. Nice. Now, at least that last category is probably
not going to be that up for this, would I imagine? Are they going to choose this
as a running away opportunity? Yeah, you know what, that’s a point. Discipline broke down
amongst the irregulars on landing. What a delightful euphemism. Discipline broke down amongst these prisoners
that we tried to order into doing something. “And no naughty running away while you’re at it,
I want you all here by teatime, you understand? “You’re on your honour.” And yes, they did indeed desert;
where and why might they have deserted? Because they’re being forced to do things
against their will in a foreign nation. Oh, but very specifically
they went to try and do something. Cocktail bars. Did they just want some fish and chips and they
found a place on the map called Fishplace or whatever it was called? I mean it wasn’t so much they were paying
for the fish and chips. Did they steal fish and chips? -They just went looting?
-That is exactly the right word, yes, they… They’re robbers, they’ll just go looting! Yes. “You mean these people who we’ve arrested
for stealing, “we’ve let them go of their own free will,
are stealing again?” Let’s not forget, we’ve given them rifles! The set up for the battle, if you like. I don’t know what, there is probably a formal term
for the armies amassing themselves and getting ready to fight. It is, it’s the armies amassing themselves
and getting ready to fight. The armies amassed themselves
and got ready to fight. But that took a little while, so on the French
side they’d sort of taken over a few farmhouses. What’s happening in the British command? Tea. A social event is happening. Oh, that’s nice. A messenger on horseback arrives
to instruct the commanding officer. And the commanding officer was William Knox,
what was his immediate reaction? “More brandy!” Yes! “We’ll fight them in the morning… “… lunchtime.” The thing is you’re about right. “Wednesday.” -The import…
-“I’m not done.” “Don’t you interrupt an officer of the crown. “Now you may speak.” -The import…
-“But not about that.” The import of this news
was slow to dawn on Knox. “I don’t know what you mean.” His initial reaction was “Really?” The next title here is Battle Averted. Ah. So what happened? A pint of rum for anybody who switches sides. Oh, you know what? Two pints of rum for anybody who switches sides! Mercy for anybody who switches s… “Brandy for anybody who switches sides!” F***ing something for f***ing switching sides
and some people did. It’s… it’s not quite switching sides, is wh… discipline among the recruits had collapsed
once they discovered the local supply of wine. So they themselves were drunk. Why might there have been wine in Wales? -Stolen.
-Medicinal? Stolen is close. Stollen. The bready thing. “This wine is German Christmas bread! “I’ll have none of it.” It was actually Portuguese wine. -Washed up?
-Yes. A Portuguese ship had been wrecked,
some wine had come ashore. -Because they’re on the lefty bit.
-Yes, where the boats go. Where the boats all go. So Portuguese’s version of man o’ war
probably sank. And some bottles had washed up
that were full of probably port. Well, that’s gout-worthy, isn’t it? -You’d know.
-Y.. dammit! The most painful thing that ever happened,
don’t do it. And I only wish I’d got it through better means. While the British are marching in,
what’s happening with the locals? Are they rapidly sobering the French up to get
them to actually have this fight they fancied? Chasing them out in…
with like comedy implements, like people chasing them out
with rolling pins and s***? You know what? Mystery Biscuits. The French are approaching,
the British under the command of Lord Cawdor, whose HQ is where? Mordor. It doesn’t have to rhyme. “Lord Cawdor of Mordor!” “Lord Wellington of Hellington.” I mean, no, the local pub, the Royal Oak. -Really?
-He set up in the pub, that was his HQ, so he’s taken his men from there. It’s a very drunken invasion on both sides, this. But pubs could be used for official uses,
because they were like a community. You often had inquests and things
that took place in the local pub. Obviously not on the top of the bar,
that would be rude, but in an upstairs room. So suddenly someone kicking the door in
and going, “mine now,” they were probably quite used to it,
it could be used as courtrooms and things as well. You’d just go over to the Winchester
and wait for it all to blow over. Pretty much. The French realised that the British
had more people than them. So as the light fails,
they go back to their camps for the night. The next morning, what happens at the pub? Well, the British get up and realise that
there’s nothing left in the pub and therefore have to seek out things
like bacon sandwiches, possibly a McDonald’s, something like that,
just to get them over the night before. -Who comes along to the pub?
-Do the French come along to the pub? Yes, two French officers turned up,
why would they do that? They too were in search of bacon sandwiches,
possibly a McDonald’s. Why do you send only two officers
to the opponent’s HQ? Because one of them is a horse,
and has been riding on the back of the man. He knocks on the door with his hooves. I’m looking for a specific word here. Oh my… well, if we start at A. They’re negotiating the terms of… Surrender! -Surrender, absolutely, right, thank you,
sarcastic clap… Yes, I deserve that(!) Insert French surrender joke here,
cutting room floor, there we go, there we go. Yeah, they wish to negotiate a conditional
surrender and Lord Cawdor said? -No.
-Yes. I mean yes, you’re right,
that’s absolutely…so why did he say that? Because he hadn’t had a fight yet and he’d come
all this way and brought all those things. And he was hungover and God damn it,
somebody was going to suffer. And he’s been knocked up early in the morning
by these bloody French already. We’re going to deal with them well after one,
he hasn’t got the papers with him or anything. Does he not have the authority to accept it? No, he absolutely has
the authority to accept it. He just didn’t want to? Yes, why might he have done that, why might he
have turned away a conditional surrender, and insisted that no,
it’s got to be unconditional? Saw an easy career promotion
with a crushing victory. Oh, crushing victory is interesting. -I was going to say…
-Crushing loss, I don’t know. A sly glance. An impropriety at
a society party. I don’t f***ing know. No, he… he was saying we can get
a crushing victory, essentially, to them. Was he getting a bonus if he won? No, he was bluffing, he was flat out bluffing
that he had more people and more on the way, and, ‘If you don’t surrender you will all die,
there are no conditions on this.’ “You can’t come into the pub because it’s
full of men, full of them you hear, full of them. “Well, no you can’t, you simply can’t
come through the door. “I can’t accept your surrender,
there’s far too many of us, bye. “Well, lads.” And so there is some speculation here, that he got a little bit of help from some people
looking on from the cliffs. So what did the French see on the cliffs? People? Turn of the 18th century, does anyone know what
a traditional Welsh costume looks like for women? Yes, the pointy hat and the little apron
and they tie it under your thing, and then, yeah, yeah, like that,
you look like a little Welshwoman, on all the spoons that they sell
at the seaside resorts. They sell spoons, alright,
they have Welsh ladies on them. I’ll give you the point,
it’s a top hat and a red dress. Yeah. Now, if you’re looking at someone far away
on the top of a cliff… Oh s***, he didn’t think he’d seen
more soldiers, did he? Yes. Because they had a shako
and the red coat, so he’s confused a bunch of watching Welshwomen
for a force of infantry, is what you’re saying? That is the speculation,
that he looked up at the top of the cliffs, and thought, ‘There’s a lot of people up there, ‘and they look like soldiers.’ One, invent glasses, two, whatever happens
in your life, whatever it is, you’re never going to be the man who confused a load of Welshwomen
in traditional dress for backup. So what do the French do? Run away. Unconditional surrender, yes,
I’ll give you the point. The French surrender, the British accept it, Tate is imprisoned briefly, and then returns to France
along with most of the force. There is something about this invasion though, there is something; 1797, this was. And there’s something special about it,
something that is marked out every time, on every little…
on every little memorial plaque about this, there is something about the invasion
of mainland Britain in 1797. That will be the last invasion
of mainland Britain. Mystery Biscuits. Unlike – going back to the start of this,
so it’s not thrown together – 1066, which is what everyone else thinks it is. Yes, you are absolutely right. The Battle of Fishguard was the most recent
landing on mainland Britain by a hostile foreign force. As we record this… -And on that note…
Gary, you win the show. You have won a device to help cool the lower
jaws of South American rodents. It’s a chinchilla chin chiller. So with that we say thank you to Chris Joel. Thank you. To Gary Brannan, to Matt Gray. I’ve been Tom Scott,
and we’ll see you next time.