The "British Legion" in Italian Wars of Unification

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The "British Legion" in Italian Wars of Unification

Postby admin » 19 May 2011 17:41

These were 650 British volunteers who formed into a group and travelled to Italy to assist Garibaldi in the Italian war of 1860.
There seems to be remarkably little written about them online - if anyone knows of more info on them please post links.
This is an officer's sword from that small expeditionary force of 1860:
link removed as now dead :(
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

I like swords more than you.
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Re: The "British Legion" in Italian Wars of Unification

Postby Paul J » 01 Jun 2011 15:41

Hi Matt, you're right, theres very little written and quite difficult to find. So far, all I've come up with, is an e-book: The Irish and English in Italy's Risorgimento. by Mary Jane Cryan. An Irish woman who lives in Italy. Basically the Legion was raised in August 1860 , sailed to Naples in September. Their baptisum of fire was the Battle of Porto Capua. It all ended in tears by Xmas, due to a certain Mr styles embezzling funds destined for Garibaldi and the cause. They were called Excursionists, because the Foreign Service Act forbid the enlistment for foreign Kings, governments etc. They got around this Act by claiming they were on an excursion to Mount Etna and as the area was quite unsettled, they were provided with weapons for self defence! The Irish Legion were raised for the Pope, at about the same time and had a worse time of it. As the Pope and the Austrians were against Italian unification and they lost.
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Re: The "British Legion" in Italian Wars of Unification

Postby admin » 02 Jun 2011 11:40

This is very interesting, thanks.
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Re: The "British Legion" in Italian Wars of Unification

Postby Paul J » 05 Jul 2012 17:09

There is an excellent article titled: 'Garibaldi's Englishmen' by Richard Stevenson in June's edition of 'Soldiers of the Queen'. A bi-monthly Journal of the Victorian Military Society. Not specifically about the British Italian Legion, but Richard Stevenson intends to follow up with an article about them. A lot of interesting characters, show up in Garibaldi's invasion of the Kingdom of 2 Sicilys and a surprising number of Jolly Jack Tars join in as well!
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