In Memory of the Noble Six Hundred (25 Oct 1854)

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.

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldiers knew
Some one had blunder'd:
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.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!
H'mmm yes, I've never thought Tennyson's pome quite as the good as the song, "Balaclava", which I give below. I don't know who it was written by; I believe a version may have been recorded by Scan Tester, I heard it from Harry Mousdell. Anyway, it sounds dam' fine after a pint or three.

For all the poetry and singing about it, I gather that the charge itself was conducted largely in silence. Apart from the sound of the guns, all that could be heard was the NCOs calling "close up, close up" to keep the ranks properly dressed as troopers fell.

Brave men all. 'Tis a famous story...


Six hundred stalwart warriors, of England's pride the best
Did grasp the lance and sabre on Balaclava's crest
And with their trusty leader, Earl Cardigan the brave
Dashed through the Russian valley to glory or a grave.

Oh 'tis a famous story, proclaim it far and wide
And let your children's children re-echo it with pride
How Cardigan the fearless his name immortal made
When he crossed that Russian valley with his famous light brigade.

The foemen stood in thousands, a dark and awful mass
Beneath their famous stronghold, resolved to guard the pass.
Their guns with fierce defiance belched thunder through the vale
Where sat our English horsemen, beneath their iron gale.

When Nolan brought the order, "Great God, can it be true?"
Cried Cardigan the fearless "And my brigade so few?
To take these awful cannon from yonder teeming mass
'Tis madness, sir, where shall we charge? What guns bring from the pass?"

And they were but six hundred against two thousand foes
Hemmed in with furious cannon and crushed by savage blows.
Yet fought they like heroes for our defiant England's fame;
Oh, glorious charge, heroic deed, what glory crowns their name!

Four hundred of those soldiers fell fighting where they stood
And thus that fatal death vale enriched with English blood;
Four hundred of those soldiers bequeathed their lives away
To the England they had fought for on that wild October day.
673 officers and men charged. 247 were lost, as were 497 horses.

Honour the charge they made, honour the Light Brigade.......
Kipling did it best

The Last of the Light Brigade


TheBigUn said:
673 officers and men charged. 247 were lost, as were 497 horses.

Honour the charge they made, honour the Light Brigade.......

Capt Godfry Morgan on his Charger Sir Briggs, who's grave is in Newport


I can so feel a T Shirt design coming on..........such blood and guts!!!!!!!!!!!!! Would someone be kind enough to refresh my mind as to which Regiments and their modern sons were involved?? I remember 17/21L which today would I guess be QRL?? Would that include 16/5L??
Not forgetting Scarlett's 300 of the Heavy Brigade. Should be some sore heads in the Sgts Mess today :)

The Charge Of The Heavy Brigade At Balaclava
October 25, 1854


The charge of the gallant three hundred, the Heavy Brigade!
Down the hill, down the hill, thousands of Russians,
Thousands of horsemen, drew to the valley–and stay’d;
For Scarlett and Scarlett’s three hundred were riding by
When the points of the Russian lances arose in the sky;
And he call’d, ‘Left wheel into line!’ and they wheel’d and obey’d.
Then he look’d at the host that had halted he knew not why,
And he turn’d half round, and he bade his trumpeter sound
To the charge, and he rode on ahead, as he waved his blade
To the gallant three hundred whose glory will never die–
‘Follow,’ and up the hill, up the hill, up the hill,
Follow’d the Heavy Brigade.


The trumpet, the gallop, the charge, and the might of the fight!
Thousands of horsemen had gather’d there on the height,
With a wing push’d out to the left and a wing to the right,
And who shall escape if they close? but he dash’d up alone
Thro’ the great gray slope of men,
Sway’d his sabre, and held his own
Like an Englishman there and then.
All in a moment follow’d with force
Three that were next in their fiery course,
Wedged themselves in between horse and horse,
Fought for their lives in the narrow gap they had made–
Four amid thousands! and up the hill, up the hill,
Gallopt the gallant three hundred, the Heavy Brigade.


Fell like a cannon-shot,
Burst like a thunderbolt,
Crash’d like a hurricane,
Broke thro’ the mass from below,
Drove thro’ the midst of the foe,
Plunged up and down, to and fro,
Rode flashing blow upon blow,
Brave Inniskillens and Greys
Whirling their sabres in circles of light!
And some of us, all in amaze,
Who were held for a while from the fight,
And were only standing at gaze,
When the dark-muffled Russian crowd
Folded its wings from the left and the right,
And roll’d them around like a cloud,–
O, mad for the charge and the battle were we,
When our own good redcoats sank from sight,
Like drops of blood in a dark-gray sea,
And we turn’d to each other, whispering, all dismay’d,
‘Lost are the gallant three hundred of Scarlett’s Brigade!’


‘Lost one and all’ were the words
Mutter’d in our dismay;
But they rode like victors and lords
Thro’ the forest of lances and swords
In the heart of the Russian hordes,
They rode, or they stood at bay–
Struck with the sword-hand and slew,
Down with the bridle-hand drew
The foe from the saddle and threw
Underfoot there in the fray–
Ranged like a storm or stood like a rock
In the wave of a stormy day;
Till suddenly shock upon shock
Stagger’d the mass from without,
Drove it in wild disarray,
For our men gallopt up with a cheer and a shout,
And the foeman surged, and waver’d, and reel’d
Up the hill, up the hill, up the hill, out of the field,
And over the brow and away.

Glory to each and to all, and the charge that they made!
Glory to all the three hundred, and all the Brigade!



Gallery Guru
Hopefully, this link works ... you'll have to sit through a short advert first.

A wax cylinder recording of Trumpeter Landfrey sounding the charge.

Trumpter Landfrey


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Regiments taking part in 'The Charge'
4th Light Dragoons
8th Hussars
13th Light Dragoons
17th Lancers
and the finest of them all the 11th Hussars (PAO)
Longlenny said:
Regiments taking part in 'The Charge'
4th Light Dragoons
8th Hussars
13th Light Dragoons
17th Lancers
and the finest of them all the 11th Hussars (PAO)

Thanks LL, A suitable Light Brigade and now a Heavy Brigade design will be forthcoming and I'll let you know when it comes on line!!
Happy Balaklava month we celebrate Cambrai.


Book Reviewer
And don't forget it was a 15H ("a gifted cavalry officer whose influence on his profession long outlasted his own tragically short life") who made the whole thing possible by surfing his horse down a cliff to pass on the orders, losing his perspective and sending them off down the wrong valley. At least he had the decency to lead 17L in the charge and be first to stop a Russian shell.

Plenty of references, for example:
There was a WW2 version of the ´Light Brigade´ at Coriano Ridge involving the Bays or 2nd Dragoon Guards,only 3 tanks survived and 98 men were killed or wounded within minutes as they drove towards a heavily defended 88mm Anti Tank position.

No poems or lengthy prose as far as I know?
Correct Chris, it is known in RAC history as the 'Second Balaklava'
The Bays were virtually wiped out after being ordered over open ground to a mass of 88's and AT guns.
But there is a poem, written by Major Piers Smart (Lt at time) of the Bays.

"San Martino (Montecieco) 1944."
By San Martino on the hill,
The sickly stench of battle lingered still,
Although the crushing din had rolled away
From the grim scene of yesterday,
It's gruesome carnage lay below
The ridge from which we'd seen them bravely go
Into the flames of an explosive hell
Of armour piercing shot and shell.

By San Martino on the hill
We cut and dug with cold and urgent will:
Then, what remained of them we bore with care
Up the steep slope and, quickly, there
Worked in the blazing afternoon
To mark the grave of each war-torn dragoon.
WE covered them and with the Blessing said,
We did not stay to mourn the dead.

By San Martino on the hill,
The passing tourist with some time to kill,
May contemplate the monument we gave
To mark the place we dug their grave.
Ashes to ashes; dust to dust;
Incinerated steel turned to rust;
But we recall the reason why they died;
Our grief is bitterness and pride.
Piers Smart (of the BAYS).

(PS. the 9th.Lancers, of the same Brigade offered to go in after the Bays but were forbidden. to do so.)
And people ask why I'm still a BAY.
Further to my post above,
On September 20th. 1944 at 10.50 hours the Bays launched their assault.
By 11.30 hours they had 18 Shermans left out of 52!
Sgt.Don Burley received an immediate DCM.
One report.........When the tanks were skylined on the crest of the hill the enemy gunners rubbed their eyes in disbelief.
Peering into the sights of their 88mm. guns, they found them selves in a marksmans position."
The photo below shows Don Burley DCM shaking hands with the German General of the 90th. Panzer Grenadiers at the memorial in 1994.
the other pic shows some of the 'old boys' at Rimini in 1994.


The 13th Light Dragoons in the charge went on to form my old regiment the 13TH/18TH Royal Hussars ( Queen Marys Own ) They in turn have alagamated to become The Light Dragoons so the wheel went full circle. Remember them well. Tich Moore :lol:
The second charge was surely at Fondouk in Tunisia

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