Today, across #1YORKS, #2YORKS, #4YORKS and our proud antecedent regiments, we commemorate Corunna Day. In late 1808 Sir John Moore advanced from his base at Lisbon to meet up with a force under General Baird, sent out from Britain and landed at Vigo and Corunna on 13th October. This force included both the 14th Foot and 76th Foot, and was to reinforce Sir John Moore’s army and advance on Madrid in support of a Spanish army which appeared to have defeated the French. Before the two British forces could link up, Moore received intelligence that Napoleon himself, leading 200,000 French troops, had crossed the Pyrenees and was advancing to secure Madrid. Moore’s tiny British force stood in his way and, on 23rd December, it was forced to withdraw towards Corunna, linking up with Baird at Benevente on the way. After a cavalry skirmish there, which gave the hard pressed troops some respite they continued their withdrawal towards Vigo and Corunna to meet up with a British fleet.
The retreat was carried out in appalling weather conditions and was followed closely by a French force under Marshal Soult. The ragged Army reached Corunna on 12th January and, at Elvina, the British Army turned to fight, where the 14th Foot distinguished itself in a gallant counter attack on 16th January, and the French withdrew. Unfortunately, Sir John Moore was mortally wounded at about the same time, being buried the next day, as the British troops embarked unmolested. The campaign had not been a failure, though, as a substantial French force had been drawn off from Madrid, which gave the Spaniards in the south time to regroup, and a further offensive under Wellington saw the French eventually driven out of Spain and Allied armies fighting on French soil. #FortuneFavourstheBrave #history #yorkshire #infantry