Who were the Sea Fencibles?

The Sea Fencibles were the brain child of Admiral Sir Home Popham (1762-1820).

While in Flanders in 1793, he organised a group of fishermen into a marine militia and when an invasion of England by the French seemed imminent, he suggested in 1798 that a similar corps was formed in this country.

The Sea Fencibles were volunteers, usually fishermen or local residents, commanded by serving or retired naval officers – in the event of an alarm, the men would make to a rendevous point and proceed to patrol a specific length of coast. They would also assist with coastal signal stations and would man small boats. They were finally disbanded at the end of the Napoleonic War in 1815.