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They came three times, they saw and they hung around for a few centuries.

The Julian Invasion

Having just defeated the French, Julius Caesar decided to have a pop at the British in 55 BC. His reasoning was:

(a) I’ve got an army
(b) I’ve got some boats
(c) I’ve been told there’s a lot of beaver in Britain.

He landed on the Kent coast, had a bit of a fight with the locals, took some hostages and then buggered off again when he found out that British beaver swam in rivers and built dams.

Julian Invasion II

The next year he decided to do a sequel as he had:

(a) Got unexpectedly good box office for The Julian Invasion and "75% Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes
(b) Found out that one of his hostages could get him VIP tickets to the London Spearmint Rhino.
(c) Bought an elephant.

After a series of nasty little scraps with the British, who in those days fought bollock naked, he took got his elephant as far as the Thames, only to turn round and go back again when he heard that the French were revolting. Should have known that before he set off.

Fast forward thirty years …..

Dad, there’s a man in the snug bollock naked
OK Son, I’ll handle this
Afternoon Sir, just back from the parade are we? Good to see the old uniform again. Let me draw you a pint. The Buffs was it?
Ermm, no actually it was bit more informal. I guess I can tell you. We were heading back to Hereford after a bit of a shufti on the coast when we ran into the eyeties at the Thames crossing. Not really our bailiwick but we really could not leave the scene without making a bit of a nuisance of ourselves could we? Gave that Elephant something to think about. If there had been more of us we might have made a real difference.
Hereford eh? Good for you sir, no sir, thank you sir, this one’s on the house. Now remind me again, what was the colour of the canoe hut?

Claudian Invasion

OK, a bit of political background. The Praetorian Guard were an elite unit of the Roman army dedicated to protecting the head of state. If you like, Rome’s Foot Guards. After Caesar, Augustus became emperor. Augustus was the top man. Knew what he was doing both politically and militarily. So good they named a month after him. Augustus’s step-son Tiberius was next. A bit of a nutter and well warry but he held everything together. Then came Caligula. Mad as fuck. So would you be if your name meant “Cutie ‘Iddle Baby’s Booties”. He seriously pissed of the Praetorians who decided they were better off without him, especially after thirty stab wounds seriously impeded his decision making skills.

The Praetorians knew that they had to have a member of the Imperial family as their figurehead otherwise the rest of the army would descend on Rome and kick shit. They picked Claudius who was generally considered a complete mong who could be relied upon to do what he was told. As it happened Claudius was actually a bit of an operator who, in 43 AD, realised that a war was just what he needed to get Rome behind him. Britain looked a good bet because:

(a) He had good intel from Caesar’s RIFs
(b) It was far enough away that if it all went pear-shaped he could blame the field commanders
(c) He had more elephants.

It all went very well. Claudius’s army established a bridgehead in Kent, advanced to the river Medway where they defeated the bulk of the native British in a two day battle before occupying Colchester. Claudius himself turned up there and accepted the surrender of the British tribal leaders. The elephants bred with the women of Colchester.