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Time Capsule

Snapshots of the world from one year in the past

TIME CAPSULE 1781

DEATH IN VICTORY John Singleton Copley’s famed painting shows Peirson fall at the moment of victory; his death galvanised the British attack
ALAMY X1, GETTY X5

BRITISH ATTLE VICTORY OF JERSEY

When old enemies Britain and France faced each other in Jersey in 1781, it turned out to be among their shorter conflicts. French forces invaded the Channel Island, a base for British privateers, under cover of darkness late on 5 January and set up defensive positions in what is now St Helier’s Royal Square without detection. They caught the island’s governor, Major Moses Corbet, literally napping – he was taken prisoner in bed and forced to sign an order for British troops to lay down their arms. Command fell to 24-year-old Major Francis Peirson, who refused to comply and attacked the greatly outnumbered French. The invasion ended in miserable failure, but not before Peirson fell from a musket ball to the heart.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

In this month’s issue… Henry VIII’s Six Weddings While every detail of Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle has been anticipated and analysed, the nuptials of his Tudor namesake Henry VIII are less familiar. Alison Weir peers behind the drapes of the six days that preceded ‘divorced, beheaded, died…’. Plus: the CIA heist of a sunken Soviet nuclear sub during the Cold War; Wounded Knee massacre; female Pharaohs; the 1820 plot to murder the Cabinet; and Lee Miller’s photos of WWII