Crimea, 2 clasps, Balaklava, Inkermann, 6th Dragoons (later Inniskillings Officially impressed naming, Heavy Brigade
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SKU: a8644 Category: Single Campaign Medals
Crimea, 2 clasps, Balaklava, Inkermann
John Tribe. 6th Dragns.
Died of disease in the Crimea 7th February 1855.
A fine Heavy Brigade medal.
On the way out to the Crimea a fire broke out on one of the transport ships (Europa – destroyed by fire). The commanding officer, Lt Col Willoughby Moore, 16 men and all the horses were lost. A further 75 horses were lost in a gale and cholera ravished the men. The regiment arrived in the British base at Balaclava much diminished. On 25th October the Russians attacked the British base. The Heavy Brigade, some 700 men from five Dragoon regiments, faced a Russian cavalry force of about 2000. The Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Scarlett, charged uphill at the enemy. Such was the ferocity of the attack that the Russians began to falter and then to retreat. The whole action took only eight minutes. The Inniskillings lost two men killed and 14 wounded. Though ordered to follow the Light Brigade later that day in its disastrous charge, the Heavy Brigade was stopped in time when the mistake was realised.
A letter from a Captain of the Inniskillings illustrates the mellee which followed:
"Forward – dash – bang – clank, and there we were in the midst of such smoke, cheer, and clatter, as never before stunned a mortal's ear. it was glorious! Down, one by one, aye, two by two fell the thick skulled and over-numerous Cossacks…..Down too alas! fell many a hero with a warm Celtic heart, and more than one fell screaming loud for victory. I could not pause. It was all push, wheel, frenzy, strike and down, down, down they went. Twice I was unhorsed, and more than once I had to grip my sword tighter, the blood of foes streaming down over the hilt, and running up my very sleeve….now we were lost in their ranks – now in little bands battling – now in good order together, now in and out."
In the words of Colonel Paget of the Light Brigade "It was a mighty affair, and considering the difficulties under which the Heavy Brigade laboured, and the disparity of numbers, a feat of arms which, if it ever had its equal, was certainly never surpassed in the annals of cavalry warfare, and the importance of which in its results can never be known."
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