|BCN028||200th Anniversary of the Death of Sir William Cornwallis||£11.95||Buy Now|
Issue Date: 05/07/2019
Issue Name: 200th Anniversary of the Death of Sir William Cornwallis
Producer: Buckingham Covers
Commemorating 200 years since the death of Admiral Sir William Cornwallis, Commander-in-chief of the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars. Cornwallis' blockade of the French port at Brest is considered to be one of the pivotal points which helped towards the eventual defeat of Napoleon at Trafalgar. The artwork shows the famous manoeuvre called 'Cornwallis' Retreat' in which Cornwallis was able to fool the Frehch fleet into retreating, thinking that Cornwallis has allies arriving over the horizon.
Sir William Cornwallis
There were many highlights in Admiral Sir William Cornwallis’ long career but perhaps one of the most famous became known as ‘Cornwallis’s Retreat’; on 16 June 1795, he was in command of a small squadron which had sighted a much larger French fleet near Brest. At first the ships turned in retreat and Cornwallis realised that they were outgunned. He decided to turn his ship back towards the French and pretended to signal over the horizon to non-existent support. The French, thinking that a greater fleet was about to appear, promptly withdrew.
Cornwallis was appointed to Commander of the Channel Fleet in 1801. In 1803, Cornwallis began the most famous action of his career, the blockade of Brest. Napoleon’s plan to invade England invovled 2,400 vessels but the first stage of the plan was to move the French navy fleet out of the port at Brest. Due to Cornwallis’ perseverance and tenacity, the blockade of Brest was held until 1806 which is considered to be one of the pivotal points which helped towards the eventual defeat of Napoleon at Trafalgar.
When Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger died in 1806, Cornwallis left the navy. He returned to live in Milton-On-Sea at the Newlands estate that he had leased and then purchased in 1800, he lived there with his great friend John Whitby and Whitby’s wife and daughter until Cornwallis’ death on 5th July 1819.
He was buried at All Saints church in Milford alongside his friend Captain John Whitby who had died in 1806 after having served with Cornwallis for many years. Cornwallis left the estate to be inherited by Whitby’s wife and daughter who had looked after Cornwallis in his final years.
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