Sir John Ligonier’s Martyred Road to Rocoux

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Sir John Ligonier’s Martyred Road to Rocoux

By National Army Museum

In July 1746, Lieutenant-General Sir John Ligonier led just four British battalions - all that could initially be spared following the recent defeat of the Jacobite rebellion at Culloden - to join the allied army facing the French in the Low Countries.

He was nevertheless optimistic. He had been promised command of the British-paid contingent, made up of 24,000 Hanoverian and Hessian troops, and expected to serve on an equal footing with the commanders of the Austrian and Dutch forces.

In the cruellest of betrayals, his expectations were to be confounded. It was a sadly disjointed force which, at Rocoux on 11 October 1746, faced its ultimate test as 80,000 allies arrayed themselves against 120,000 French in arguably the 18th century’s biggest battle.

In this exciting talk, Dr Alastair Massie brings Ligonier’s journey to life and highlights his importance in the wider campaign to defend the Low Countries.

About Dr Alastair Massie

Dr Alastair Massie worked at the National Army Museum for 27 years, for much of that time as Head of the Department of Archives, Photographs, Film and Sound, and latterly as the Museum’s Head of Research.

He has in the past written widely on the Crimean War. More recently, in 2018, the Army Records Society published his edition (with Jonathan Oates) of the papers of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. His current book, ‘Great Britain and the Defence of the Low Countries, 1744-48: Armies, Politics and Diplomacy’, is published by Helion and Company.

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