THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
25th October 1854
The Crimean War
SHEWELL, SEWELLS AND A SOLEY
By Edward Sewell
This article was originally published in the August 2007 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
During the Crimean War the British Cavalry's Light Brigade was composed of five Light Cavalry Regiments under the command of Major General The Earl of Cardigan K.C.B. James Thomas Brudenell.
These Regiments were:
The Fourth Light Dragoons
The Eighth Hussars
The Eleventh Hussars
The Thirteenth Light Dragoons
The Seventeenth Lancers
The following were members of this gallant but tragic body of men: (Ranks given as of 25th October 1854)
THE EIGHTH HUSSARS
Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick George SHEWELL
Born 21 July 1809, Christened 30 November St. Mary’s, Lambeth, London. Parents: Edward Shewell and Mary.
Military service: Cornet 28 August 1827, Lieutenant 6 September 1831, Captain 28 April 1837, Major 23 August 1844, Lieutenant-Colonel 19 February 1847. Left for the Crimea aboard HT Wilson Kennedy on 2 May 1854. Led the Regiment in the Charge on 25 October 1854. Colonel 28 November 1854. Brigadier-General 23 October 1855. Embarked with the Regiment on leaving the Crimea for England 25 April 1856. Died on sick leave 1 October 1856 at Gosden, near Guildford, Surrey. Medals: Crimea (clasps for Alma, Balaklava, Inkermann and Sebastopol). Knight of the Legion of Honour (4th Class)
When Lord Cardigan returned to England in January 1855, Shewell took over command of the Light Cavalry Brigade.
Sergeant 1104 Edward T. SEWELL
Born 1832 at Stoke Newington, Middlesex Enlisted 18 September 1849. 1851 Census shows him to be a Private aged 19yrs at Preston District Cavalry Barracks near Brighton. Embarked for the Crimea aboard HT Medora on 27 April 1854. Promoted to Sergeant 19 June 1854. Received serious wounds during the Charge on 25 October 1854. Died from his wounds at Scutari on 26 December 1854. Medal: Crimean (A &S) only two clasps shown on the medal roll although he was entitled to Balaklava.
Corporal 1197 John SEWELL
Born 10 June 1834, Christened 17 August 1834 at Great Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire. Parents: James Sewell and Ann Earp. He worked as a painter before his enlistment on 6 October 1851. Promoted to Corporal on 23 August 1854. Seriously wounded during the Charge on 25 October 1854. Died from his wounds at Scutari on 25 December 1854. Medal: Crimea (B&S)
THE THIRTEENTH LIGHT DRAGOONS
Private 1452 William SEWELL
Born 1830 at Mickleham, Surrey. Employed as a coachman. Enlisted 1851-2. Severely wounded during the Charge on 25 October 1854. His horse was killed. Later promoted to Sergeant. Medal: Crimea (B&S). Married in 1860 to Mary McMillen at Liverpool. Died 6 January 1910 at 18 Rose Lane, Mossley Hill, Liverpool and was buried on 13 January 1910 at Woolton Parish Churchyard, Liverpool. A member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in 1879, he attended the Annual Reunion Dinners in 1892, 1895, 1899 and 1906. He had been badly wounded in the head and a metal plate was fixed over its site, which he wore for the rest of his life. On leaving the army he worked as a coachman to the Earl family and married their cook. The uniform he wore at Balaclava is now at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London.
THE SEVENTEENTH LANCERS
Corporal 479 Robert SEWELL
Enlisted 2 August 1836. Promoted Corporal 2 August 1854. Promoted to Sergeant 1 January 1855. To Scutari on duty 1855. Medal: Crimea (A.I & S). Did NOT ride in the Charge on 25 October 1854.
Private 1111 Johnson SEWELL
Born 1823, Christened 31 May 1823 at Monks Eleigh, Suffolk. Parents: William Sewell and Jane. Employed as a footman before enlistment in 1851. Killed during the Charge on 25 October. 1854 Medal: Crimea (A,B & S). 1851 Census: a Private stationed at Croydon District Barracks, Surrey.
Private 1120 Benjamin SOLEY
Born 1834 Ealing, Middlesex. Parents: Benjamin Soley and ? Employed as a Labourer before enlisting in May 1852. Wounded during the Charge on 25 October 1854. At Scutari from 10 to 24 May 1855. Discharged 27 May 1866. Died 18 April 1906 at Ealing, Middlesex. Medal: Crimea (A,B,I & S). A member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society 1879 and signed the Loyal Address to Queen Victoria by survivors of the Charge in 1887 on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee. He attended the Annual Reunion Dinners in 1890, 1892, 1893, 1895, 1897 and 1899, where he was known as “Old Iron” because of his singing the song "Any Old Iron" at the Reunion Dinners. The 1851 Census shows him aged 17years a labourer residing at 3 Caroline Place, Ealing. Then in 1901, aged 67 years, a roadman labourer at 19 Castlebar Mews, Ealing. He married Matilda Nichols in 1865.
I would at this point like to relate the casualty statistics for the Light Brigade on 25 October 1854. This is taken from ‘Crimean Journal’ by Lord George Paget and formed from Regimental Returns:
Present on Parade the total of all ranks 673.
Total of casualties 303 which includes 113 killed.
460 horses were casualties including 332 killed.
I have compiled this short piece making great use of Honour the Light Brigade by William M. Lummis and Kenneth G. Wynn published by Hayward & Son, London in 1973.
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