Did the UK accidentally invade Spain in 2002?


Gibraltar. IamRender

How did British forces inadvertently land on Spanish soil?

Royal Marines accidentally landed on a Spanish beach in 2002, mistakenly thinking they were landing on part of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory. Admiral Lord West, who was then First Sea Lord, told the BBC:

“It wasn’t one of the best days in my time. I had a phone call from the military commander saying, ‘Sir, I’m afraid something awful’s happened.’ I thought, ‘Goodness me, what?’ And he said, ‘I’m afraid we’ve invaded Spain, but we don’t think they’ve noticed.'”

“They charged up the beach in the normal way, being Royal Marines—they’re frightfully good soldiers of course, and jolly good at this sort of thing—and confronted a Spanish fisherman who sort of pointed out, ‘I think you’re on the wrong beach.’

“And they all scrambled back in their boats and went away again. So I immediately had to get on to the Foreign Office and the governor of Gibraltar.”

Earlier in 2017 Lord West revealed that a surface-to-air missile had been mistakenly fired into Wales.


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