The James Boys Archive

8th Hussars after Balaklava

At Inkerman the regiment, in common with the others in the Brigade, had to endure the fire of long-hopping shells from the Russian ships in the harbour; but as soon as the brunt of the attack was over were moved back out of reach of the guns, losing only one horse.

The trials and tribulations of the winter of 1854-55 have been adequately described elsewhere. The spring of 1855 brought changes in the officer grades and the commissioning of the R.S.M. and a Troop Sgt. Major and the Expedition to Kertch.

On the 22nd of May a detachment of 50 mounted men under Colonel de Salis accompanied the expedition to Kertch aboard the the sailing transport, “Warcloud”. The Russians had only sea-board defences and when the disembarkation had commenced in earnest, they blew up about 30 guns which commanded the Straits, and withdrew inland. Little fighting was done, but as Somerset Calthorpe related, "We destroyed about four months' rations for 100,000 men..." Left behind was the remainder of the regiment, which on the 10th of August 1855 numbered 266 other ranks and 328 horses in its ranks.

On the death of Lord Raglan, Colonel Shewell had asked for the return of Captain Chetwode's Troop, which had formed his escort. Soon after its return, however, General Simpson, Raglan's successor, required them, and on the 29th of October Captain Naylor, two subalterns and 70 other ranks were sent to act as an escort and provide orderlies for all the other divisions. This was not a popular duty, the experience of the previous winter inducing a belief that such a detachment tended to become non-effective, and reduce the strength of the regiment.

With no way of confirming those who formed the first escort troop (excepting in one or two known instances) it is not known whether these men also received the clasp for Balaclava although not participating in the Charge.

Being joined in winter quarters at Ismail in November of 1855 by the detachment from Kertch the regiment passed this period happily enough in houses which the Turkish authorities had obliged the local inhabitants to give up and as the men had been seventeen months under canvas, keenly enjoyed their new abode. Food for both men and horses was abundant, and the whole Brigade was well prepared to renew the campaign in the spring, when news of peace arrived.

Embarkation orders being received, all horses considered not worth keeping were sold by auction, and on the 25th of April 1856 the ships Oneida and Norman sailed for England.

Brought back were: one field officer, three captains, nine subalterns, six Regimental staff, thirty-five sergeants, six trumpeters, twenty-four corporals, three hundred and ninety-three privates, and one hundred and fifty-six troop horses as well as officers' horses "nearly to the number regulated".

Of the two hundred and ninety-three other ranks who had set out for the Crimea with the regiment, two were promoted to officer rank, forty-two were invalided, sixty-eight died of wounds or disease, twenty-six were killed in action or died immediately afterwards. One private deserted to the Russians and one hundred and fifty-four returned with the regiment to England, including sixty-five who had been to the Danube.

Of the 230 troop horses which had set out for the Crimea with the regiment, only 30 were brought home, including 13 which had been to the Danube.

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