Saturday 24 June 2017

The two battles of the Medway: two British military disasters

Drawing heavily on my book Britain's 20 Worst Military Disasters (The History Press), Forces Network's new account of these two two battles of the Medway can be found at

The first in AD43 was the decisive battle of the Roman conquest, happening somewhere near where the M2 bridge now crosses the river. It may well also have been one of the two biggest battles ever fought on British soil

After two days of fierce fighting (highly unusual in those days), the Romans managed to force their way across the river. British resistance continued for a time, but soon the Emperor Claudius was able to take the surrender of eleven British kings.

The second in 1667 saw the Dutch sail up the Medway and burn the British fleet. An important factor was a government austerity programme that saw sailors left unpaid, though there seemed to be plenty of money for King Charles II's mistresses.

For the full story, see my book Britain's 20 Worst Military Disasters. See also my posts of 14 and 23 November 2011.

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