The Battles of Oporto and Talavera – 1809

3rd Foot Guards (Scots Guards) at Talavera

This talk covers the campaigns in Portugal and Spain in 1809. 

The previous year a British Expeditionary Force, commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley (later to become the Duke of Wellington), had landed in Portugal and driven out the French invaders.  However immediately after the Battle of Vimiero, two Generals senior to Wellesley had arrived and negotiated a Peace Treaty which was favourable to the French.  Wellesley and the other two Generals were recalled to England to explain themselves.  Sir John Moore took over command of the British Army in the Peninsula but a substantial French invasion forced him to evacuate his Army at Corunna, and the French again occupied Portugal.   

Meanwhile, Wellesley was exonerated and returned to take command of the British Army in the Peninsula.  The talk covers the background to his campaign, the Battles of Oporto and Talavera then concludes with the aftermath to the campaign.  Sir Arthur Wellesley was created Viscount Wellington as a result of his victory at Talavera.

The talk is 45 minutes long.  All Rod’s talks are given to raise funds for charities, in this case for Combat Stress, which provides support and treatment to military veterans with mental health problems to help them tackle the past and take on the future.