Following the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) the British had control of the seas around the coast of Europe.
By 1809 Napoleon had ambitions to build a new fleet and break the British blockade of Europe, but British Naval superiority in the Atlantic was an essential to support Wellington’s campaign in the Peninsula.
The Battle of Aix Roads was one of the most daring of the 20 year war against the French. It was carried out by a Captain (not Admiral) Cochrane in 1809, and, in that year, Cochrane was as much a household name as Nelson. Cochrane though was a ‘maverick’ and, although a great success, the Battle of Aix Roads could have been as big as Trafalgar.
Photo: Fort Boyard (built by Napoleon) sits in the estuary of The River Charente and is opposite Aix Island harbour
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