Today In Fact, 25 October

Of cardigans and balaclavas. On this day in 1854, at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean war, the charge of the light brigade was carried out.

In this engagement some 673 mounted British soldiers armed with just sabres and lances under Lord Cardigan were ordered to charge at the cannons of the Russian and Turkish armies. Only some 200 men were needlessly killed in that stupid and mindless charge.

In true British fashion, this ignominious tragedy was transformed into a glorious moment in Bristish history by naming items of clothing after it and by a poem, a piece of which is worth quoting:

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volley’d and thunder’d;

Storm’d at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.

I hold this day dear because my son’s three times great grandfather, Private Thomas Black of the 50th West Kent Regiment was there.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (