El Salvador is on the Pacific side of the Isthmus of Panama, south-east of Mexico, with Guatemala separating the two. It’s a little way away from some of our more usual spheres of military operation, but we have been in action in its waters and, on one occasion, we even got somebody else to invade it for us.
Sir Francis Drake, for instance, captured a ship near Sonsonate in El Salvador and took cloth and Chinese porcelain from it, and on 19 July 1587 Thomas Cavendish captured a 120-ton prize off Acajutla.
In 1721, a bunch of British privateers seem to have conducted a rather belated invasion of the area, belated in the sense that, by the time they invaded, the war was already over. Under Captain George Shelvocke, they arrived in Acajutla with a prize ship La Sacra Familia, which they had captured off the port. They were then informed by the local authorities that since the war of the Quadruple Alliance was over, they were now to be treated as pirates. Shelvocke eventually got back to London in 1722 and ended up being tried for piracy there.
In 1932, during a peasant rebellion in El Salvador, fearful for the safety of British nationals, we persuaded the Canadian government to send two destroyers, Skeena and Vancouver, to anchor off Acajutla, El Salvador’s main port. A heavily armed landing party was sent ashore and a compromise was reached with reluctant port officials, who didn’t want any foreign troops ashore, whereby the Canadians were at least allowed to fortify the land end of the pier. Eventually, El Salvador’s government persuaded us there that was no threat to British nationals and the landing party returned to Skeena; invasion finished and not too much harm done really.