By Michael E. Neagle
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In July 1809, with the Dutch coast ‘a pistol held on the head of England’, the biggest British expeditionary strength ever assembled, over 40,000 males and round six hundred ships, weighed anchor off the Kent coast and sailed for the island of Walcheren within the Scheldt estuary. After an preliminary good fortune, the day trip stalled and because the torpid army commander, Lord Chatham, used to be at loggerheads with the opinionated senior naval commander, Sir Richard Strachan, troops have been death of a mysterious ailment termed ‘Walcheren fever’.
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