Latest publication: Portsmouth in the Napoleonic Wars

Dr Kevin Linch' recent journal article explores the limits of loyalism during the invasion threat before the Battle of Trafalgar, through a study of Portsmouth's Napoleonic 'Home Guard'.

This article takes a closer look at loyalism through a case study of the Portsmouth Volunteers at the height of the 1803-5 invasion scare. During these years huge numbers of part-time soldiers were raised as volunteer units, in a kind of early nineteenth century version of the Home Guard.

A dispute between the the officers of the Portsmouth Volunteers and the garrison's military governor shattered the unit. In the end the volunteer officers were so disgusted by the treatment they received that they resigned, at the moment that Britain faced its greatest threat of invasion. The article demonstrates that the volunteers had limits and particular ideas about loyalism and service to their King and Country. They would not always do as they were asked, and often put the law above their duty to obey military orders.

The article is published in the Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies, the journal of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. View the article online. 

The article makes extensive use of correspondence from Hampshire Record Office and The National Archives. Nearly 100 letters were consulted for the article, and full transcripts of these are available through Research Leeds Data Repository.

View Kevin Linch's profile to find out more about his research.