If one was to ask about the contribution of the British army during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, some of the immediate responses would concern the Duke of Wellington, the Peninsular War and the Battle of Waterloo. These subjects have acquired great fame over the past two decades, thanks in part to Bernard Cornwall’s popular Sharpe novels, and to the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015. However, the battles fought at Waterloo and in the Spanish Peninsula were only a fraction of those fought by the British army during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. One British campaign that has largely been forgotten was fought in Egypt in 1801. Although the numbers of men who fought in Egypt were far smaller than in later campaigns in Spain, Portugal and Belgium, Egypt nevertheless proved a turning point in the fortunes of the British army. The significance of the Egyptian campaign can still be felt to this day.
This episode was written by Simon Quinn
Simon is a postdoctoral research fellow in history at the University of York. He has recently completed a PhD studying the lives of British soldiers on campaign in Egypt in 1801.