Charge of the Light Brigade

On this day 25 October in 1854 only 49 years and 4 days after the Battle of Trafalgar another battle took place at Sebastopol during the Crimea War that was one of the greatest tactical errors of any war in which the British have been involved.

Surprisingly in-spite of the fact that of 664 who advanced into the battle over 50% were lost the Charge of the Light Brigade was turned into a mythical and legendary event that displayed the raw Courage of those involved.

For that we can lay the blame squarely at the feet of Alfred Lord Tennyson.

We should not forget however that the objective was achieved and the guns overrun by the Light Brigade who only had to withdraw because of the decision not to support them with the Heavy Brigade.

It is perhaps appropriate that the metal from the guns when they were eventually secured is used to create the highest bravery award to be awarded to serving Commonwealth armed forces personnel with the simple inscription “For Valour”.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

BY ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON

I

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.
II

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”

Was there a man dismayed?

Not though the soldier knew

   Someone 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.
III

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon 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.
IV

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.
V

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to 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 Death,

Back from the mouth of hell,

All that was left of them,

   Left of six hundred.
VI

When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

   All the world wondered.

Honour the charge they made!

Honour the Light Brigade,

   Noble six hundred!

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