From the foreword by Richard Holmes CBE, author and presenter of BBC's 'War Walks' and 'The Western Front':
"If the French capture of Menorca in 1756 is remembered in England it is, perhaps, only because it led to the execution of Rear-Admiral John Byng, shot, as Voltaire memorably put it, 'to encourage the others'. And yet this episode in what was effectively the first of the world wars deserves rescuing from obscurity. Some of its aspects are timeless.
"Janet Sloss' delightful account concludes by asking what the French achieved by their brilliant capture of Menorca. It raised French morale, and provided an opportunity for benevolent and tireless - though ultimately fruitless - administration. A French historian summed up the whole fleeting episode. It gave France: 'only three things... La Galissonniere is the name of a battleship; Port-Mahon is the name of a street in Paris; and mayonnaise is the name of a sauce, the sauce of Mahon'."
From the introduction:
France’s capture of Menorca from Britain during the Seven Years
War was an anomaly in the long struggle between the two countries for
supremacy of the seas. Today, French people know that they took a place
called Port-Mahon, and named a street in Paris for it, but are told nothing
of their seven-year residence on the island. Menorcans smile at the memory
of gay times under a libertarian government, while in Britain the loss
of this Mediterranean harbour, so vital to its trade in the eighteenth
century, has been completely wiped from the national memory.
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