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Thread: British Re-enact Charge of the Light Brigade

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    British Re-enact Charge of the Light Brigade

    "Culture and History" is probably the category best suited to this article.

    Discuss.

    By ALEXANDER MERKUSHEV, Associated Press Writer

    BALACLAVA, Ukraine - Britain's Prince Philip and saber-waving cavalry re-enactors commemorated the charge of the Light Brigade on Monday, 150 years after the doomed British assault against Russian cannons in a Crimean War battle immortalized by the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.

    The incident, known around the world through the poem's ringing beginning of "Half a league, half a league, half a league onward," was one of the grimmest offensives of the war. Of the more than 600 soldiers who charged against Russian cannon, 110 were killed. In addition, 475 horses were lost, a significant blow to the cavalry.

    The plunge into what Tennyson characterized as "The Valley of Death" was due to a confused order, and the charge came to be seen, through the poem, as the epitome of courage and obedience despite mistakes of command.

    "Was there a man dismayed?/Not though the soldiers knew/Someone had blundered," Tennyson wrote. "Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do and die."

    On Monday, about 30 British Lancer troops and re-enactors rode across the plain where the Russian cannon had been positioned. No cannons were placed in the field from which they once discharged fatal volleys.

    A bugle believed to have been used to start the charge was blown for the commemoration ride, and a small, white wooden cross was erected in the field afterward.

    "Many people lost their lives that day ... no great victory to either side," said Lord Cardigan, a descendant of the battle's cavalry commander, who rode with the lancers in civilian dress.

    In a separate commemoration, the prince and other dignitaries marked the anniversary in a ceremony at an obelisk above the plain.

    About 200 British tourists watched, along with a contingent of local residents, who appeared variously perplexed and delighted by appearance of horses and dignitaries. Children ran up to the horses excitedly, while the adults hung back with little comment.

    A few Ukrainian naval sailors attended the ceremonies, but no one in Russian uniforms was seen.

    The Crimean War was sparked in November 1853 by a dispute between the Islamic Ottoman Empire and Christian Imperial Russia in part over control of the Christian holy places in Jerusalem and Nazereth. Britain and France entered the war on the side of the Ottomans in early 1854 after the Russian navy sank the Ottoman fleet.

    Fighting ended with Russia's defeat and the fall of Sevastopol in September 1855 and the Treaty of Paris was signed the following year.

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    Isn't it funny how a few famous lines of verse can lend significance to an otherwise comparitively insignificant event, even a century and a half later?

    Isn't it even funnier watching Mrs Scotcher have the history of said event explained to her in hushed, revered tones by an old giffer in the pub, at which point she proclaims "cool!" and breaks into a hearty rendition of the Russian national anthem?

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    What is there to discuss? The only significant outcome of that war was that the Ottoman Empire as well as Austria lost their significance entirely. Nothing to do with the light brigade. I do not even think anyone in Russia knows about that brigade.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scotcher
    Isn't it even funnier watching Mrs Scotcher have the history of said event explained to her in hushed, revered tones by an old giffer in the pub, at which point she proclaims "cool!" and breaks into a hearty rendition of the Russian national anthem?
    I can just picture that, that is hilarious. It should be in the British Humour thread.

    There was another famous charge of the Light brgade in 1917 by The Australian Cavalry against Turks but historys last great mounted charge was also made by the Aussies, at Beersheba, the 4rd Light Horse Brigade.
    http://users.netconnect.com.au/~ianmac/bersheba.html
    Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself. - Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

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