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25/10/1854 - The Charge of the Light Brigade


PeterMacD

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The Charge of the Light Brigade was a disastrous cavalry charge led by Lord Cardigan during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 in the Crimean War. It is best remembered as the subject of a famous poem entitled The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, whose lines have made the charge a symbol of warfare at both its most courageous and its most tragic.

 

 

 

 

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Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

" Forward, the Light Brigade

Charge for the guns !" he said:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

"Forward, the Light Brigade "

Was there a man dismayed ?

Not though the soldier knew

Some one had blundered:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

 

Cannon to the right of them,

Cannon to the left of them,

Connon in front of them

Volleyed and Thundered;

Stormed at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.

 

Flashed all their sabres bare,

Flashed as they turned in air,

Sabring the gunners there,

Charging an army, while

All the world wondered:

Plunged in the battery smoke,

Right through the line, they broke;

Cossack and Russian

reeled from the sabre stroke

Shattered and Sundered.

Then they rode back, - but not,

Not the six hundred.

 

Cannon to the right of them,

Cannon to the left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volleyed and Thundered;

Stormed at with shot and shell,

While horse and Hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came through the jaws of Hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred.

 

When can their glory fade ?

Oh the wild charge they made

All the world wondered.

Honour the charge they made !

Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred.

 

 

Alfred Tennyson.

 

Learnt this verse at school,..............still word perfect, today. :-)

Says it all, really.

 

Andy

 

 

 

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The old movie from the sixties with David Hemmings as Lord Lucan, who delivered the order to charge, hasn't surfaced on the telly for a while. There is also the "classic" film with Errol Flynn and David Niven which works with the daft premise that an evil Indian sultan of some sort who kills innocent Brits during some tiff or another, is with the Russian guns, thus filling the Light Brigade with revenge for their folk. Utter nonsense, well described in Niven's autobiography Bring On The Empty Horses. All the cavalrymen were Texan cowboys...One scene in the later film shows the huge equestrian statue of Wellington being trundled through London to be mounted on Wellington Arch. It now resides in Aldershot.

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the order was given to Capt Nolan 15 H who as a writer of cavalry horsemanship and could get there quicker than the HQ galloper by riding straight down the ridge to the Light Brigades posn. He pased it on to Lord Lucan who then led the fatal charge of 673 of which 157 died. To cap it all the 13th Light Dragoons and others amalgamated with the 15th Hussars to form the Light Dragoons.

 

Barry. Ex 15/19 H

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the order was given to Capt Nolan 15 H who as a writer of cavalry horsemanship and could get there quicker than the HQ galloper by riding straight down the ridge to the Light Brigades posn. He pased it on to Lord Lucan who then led the fatal charge of 673 of which 157 died. To cap it all the 13th Light Dragoons and others amalgamated with the 15th Hussars to form the Light Dragoons.

 

Barry. Ex 15/19 H

 

 

Cheers for the info, Barry.

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Cardigan led the Lights. Lucan was the Cav Div commander. Nolan Handed Aireys note to Lucan who was incredulous at its contents. Lucan ordered Cardigan to charge and he pointed out that "It was against all the usages of war to charge a battery head on."

 

 

Cardigan had also once been a 15H, but was discharged in disgrace over a scandal in Ireland some years after Waterloo, some say due to his jealousy at not having been at Waterloo. He is recorded as galloping out of barracks in Dublin into the night in a storm.

 

He quickly bought himself another commission with a lesser Hussar regiment.

 

The problem with the charge was that viewed from the bluff alongside Raglan, it was perfectly obvious to Nolan which was the valley to charge down, but having disorientated himself by surfing down the cliff face on his horse (as Baz pointed out), Nolan's disdain at being a cavalry legend among lesser cavalrymen allowed him to point up the wrong valley.

 

Oops. Nolan didn't live to regret his error, being one of the first killed at the head of the charge.

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Nolan had galloped ahead of the trotting column, that is when he was struck by one of the first shots from the Russian guns. The reason for Nolan galloping in front has been debated, one side saying that he wanted to lead the charge, and the other stating that he had realised his mistake and was attempting to stop the charge.

 

Baz.

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