Lecture "A breach between the two services": Lord Chatham and the 1809 Walcheren Expedition

Thursday 16th November 2017

On 16 November, the Society hosted a lecture by Dr. Jacqueline Reiter on the ill-starred 1809 Walcheren expedition. Author of the acclaimed recent biography of the 2nd Earl of Chatham, "The Late Lord”, Dr Reiter adeptly outlined the challenges faced by commanders during the campaign, from bad weather to sickness, and shed light on the subsequent political fallout. She explored inter-service tensions between army and navy both on Walcheren and during the campaign’s aftermath, as Lord Chatham and the Admiralty sought to minimize their responsibility for the gambit’s ultimate failure. Dr Reiter’s enlightening talk was followed by a wide-ranging Q&A session and discussion, with attendees reflecting on the political context of the campaign and the challenges of effective inter-service cooperation.

The event was held at Darwin College, Cambridge before an audience of students, Society members and academics, many of whom were in town for the BCMH New Researchers’ Conference, also sponsored by SAHR. Following the talk, attendees retired to the Granta pub for further discussion over dinner.

The Society would like to thank Dr Reiter for agreeing to speak for us and Council member Eamonn O’Keeffe for organizing the event.

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