Dappled with mud and splattered with blood anxious horses pawed at the ground and then neighed as riders sat astride them awaiting orders to begin the affray. A shell burst here, bullet swish there, each piercing itself in the Crimean air to emit the loudest of screams through gunpowder gray of another chilling day. From afar they looked dapper in bright red and blue jackets which seem to have kept their neatness and pleat despite the sweat and the stains. Sabers were drawn and surprisingly shone in this, the dullest of days. The thick mustached officer trotted a strident black mount along the ranks of his men. Eye to eye, he spoke with such a verve, aware he must deliver his speech with just the right flair and pitch to re-ignite flagging spirits and nerve. His deliverance stopped short of delirium as he trotted back to the front of the cavalry and then, shouting the order, into the valley of death rode the 600. Thus came the name and infamous fame of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
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The Charge of the Light Brigade was a part of the Battle of Balaclava which was fought during the Crimean war A war which occurred during 1853-1856 between allies Britain, France, then then Ottoman Empire and Sardinia, against the might of the Russian Empire.
The war gave its name to quite a few items that have since become household names The Balaclava was a woollen item knitted and sent to the British troops there to help with the cold which covered the head and faces under their hats.
The name for a cardigan (a button up sweater) came about from The 7th Earl of Cardigan and the Raglan sleeve also came into being from Lord Raglan who all took part in this war.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson Penned a very famous poem called: ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ because he was appalled at how many men died because of incompetent officers and miscommunication. There’s a lot more to it that this but this is the first stanza:
‘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.’
It was a brave charge made by just over 600 men on horses who followed their orders despite knowing them to be foolish. Apart from the men killed and wounded there were 335 horses killed too.
Another person who was to gain much fame from the Crimean War because of her work and meticulous dedication to hygiene and knowledge of the importance of cleanliness, which was to set the a new standard for all future nursing was Florence Nightingale
I added all the links if anyone is interested in reading more about this historic event. It was also a movie made in 1936 with Errol Flynn and a much more authentically and historically accurate one made in 1968 with David Hemmings The Charge of the Light Brigade