William Tate (soldier)

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Chef de brigade (colonel) William Tate was the Irish-American commander of a French military force known as La Légion Noire ("The Black Legion") which invaded Britain in 1797, resulting in the Battle of Fishguard.

The 1,200 to 1,400-strong Légion Noire landed at Carregwastad Point, near the Welsh port of Fishguard, on February 22 but surrendered three days later. After brief imprisonment, Tate was returned to France in a prisoner exchange in 1798, along with most of his invasion force. This was the last invasion of the British mainland by foreign forces.

Tate reportedly disliked the British because his family had been killed by pro-British Native Americans in the American War of Independence, and he advocated Irish republicanism.[1]

Many historians, following E. H. Stuart Jones, the author of The Last Invasion of Britain (1950), have suggested that William Tate was about 70 years old in 1797; he was in fact 44.[2]


  1. ^ Thomas 2007, p. 58
  2. ^ See Rose, Richard, The French at Fishguard: Fact, Fiction and Folklore, Transactions of the Hon. Society of Cymmrodorion, Vol. 9, 2003, pp. 76-77