Essex

Essex regiment's White House arson 'should be taught'

The White House
Image caption Soldiers from Essex plotted to raze the White House during the occupation of 1812

Schoolchildren should learn about how the US White House was set on fire by troops from Essex during the fight for independence, an MP has said.

The East Essex Regiment helped in the occupation of Washington during the War of 1812.

During the conflict, in 1814, troops from Essex ate a meal inside the White House before setting it ablaze.

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell said the war was a key part of British history and should be taught in the curriculum.

The severely-damaged home of the president was subsequently rebuilt and in 1817 president James Monroe moved into the building.

Addressing the House of Commons, Sir Bob said: "British success in the North American War of 1812 and 1814 was as important to this country as Trafalgar 1805 and Waterloo 1815.

"August this year is the 200th anniversary of when the White House was burnt down by the East Essex Regiment."

The Education Secretary Michael Gove said it was important to remember such events but did not say it would be added to the national curriculum.

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