Monday, April 16, 2018

5th Dragoon Guards: Regimental battle history

Major Burton and the officers commanding the 5th Dragoon Guards at Balaclava by Fenton

When the 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wales) Dragoon Guards (DG) received orders to deploy on 17th March 1854 they were short of a full establishment even for two squadrons. Stationed in Ireland together with the 7th DG, the latter provided 15 volunteers for service under direction in April 1854. The 5th DG left Queenstown on the 27th May with a strength of 19 officers, 295 other ranks, and 295 horses on board the 3438 ton P&O screw-steamer Himilaya. This was the largest single transport used to-date and took only 16 days from Queenstown to the Bosphorus. It presumably returned to the UK to convey the Scots Grey after that.
The Hon. James Scarlett had been the Colonel of the 5th DG but vacated command when appointed General of Brigade for the heavy cavalry. At the same time Major T. le Marchant was posted to command the Cavalry Depot at Maidstone having come across from the 7th Dragoons and was subsequently appointed commanding officer of the 5th. Marchant’s health declined in August; however, and he withdrew from command. He was apparently wholly unpopular in any event and his departure does not appear to have been counted a loss to the regiment. Command fell to Captain Adolphus William Desart Burton (27 years of age at Balaclava). 
Brevet Major Adolphus Burton
Lord Lucan considered Burton to be 'a very gentlemanly-like young officer, but too young'. Given the famously aged command group for the British army of the Crimea campaign this is perhaps unsurprising. Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Hodge of the 4th DG (aged 45) was placed in command of the 5th as well, so that the two regiments came to be referred to as the '9th' (5th + 4th = 9th just in case you missed the gag). Hodge also had close royal connections and was from a well connected military family. This state of affairs does not appear to have lasted long and Burton certainly led the 5th DG in the famous charge at Balaklava.
The 5th DG arrived in Varna on 12th June and settled into camp at Devna. Cholera broke out on about the 20th of July and of the brigade the 5th seems to have suffered the heaviest losses of horses and men with 3 officers and 34 men having died by the 28th August.

Like several other regiments fault was found by senior command (Lucan in particular) with the conduct and discipline within the ranks of the 5th at Varna. As Hodge had already applied for two courts martial on campaign this fact may have convinced Lucan that such a brand of authoritarianism was needed for the 5th. The 5th only had seven officers fit for duty at one point due to illness but good order can be presumed to have restored after shipping out for Sevastopol. Like the majority of the heavy brigade the 5th was only shipped out of the pestilential Varna on the return trip of the transports – which must have been a further strain on their morale.
A much-reduced regiment departed for the Crimea on the 24th of September, re-uniting with the army and landing on the 1st of October after surviving the terrible storm out of Varna. They immediately proceeded to their camp on the plain of Balaklava as part of the Heavy Brigade. They had it seems left a number of invalids behind in Varna as of the returns for 1st December 1854 declared 45 personnel still at Varna.
Camp of the 5th DG looking toward Kadokoi
Cholera had taken its toll on the 5th DG before the battle. Total regimental losses during the day’s events were three killed and 11 wounded. Being mindful of such light battle casualties, of the 314 officers and men who were sent out with the regiment, only 188 were present to receive the clasp for Balaklava; disease accounting for the majority of the reduction.
The 5th DG formed the second line of Scarlet’s heavy brigade for their famous charge on the day of Balaclava. They had been some distance to the right of the column when Scarlet responded to the presence of enemy cavalry to his left and ordered the halt and turn left into line – making the right positioned 5th DG now the rear support to the left of the Scots Greys.
Major Burton commanded the regiment and the squadrons were commanded by Captains William Richard Newport Campbell and Captain William Inglis. The regiment had been formed in line with first squadron to the left of the second. Their advance through the encampment caused entanglements with Newport’s (Campbell's?) mount being overthrown by a picket rope and Cornet Neville was unhorsed. The Cossacks to their front had commenced an envelopment of the first three squadrons engaged, presenting to some degree a partial flank and rear to the charging 5th who constituted the second wave. Kingslake reported some Cossacks had managed to open fire with their carbines on the regiment and Troop Sergeant-Major Stewart reportedly had his first mound killed my rife fire. Nevertheless the 5th charged home and their press secured the left flank of the heavy brigade to be later supported by an enveloping 4th DG attack in-turn to their left.
An interesting feature of the 5th DG is that members of the regiments were well covered by Roger Fenton’s photography.
Adolfus William Desart Burton (b.1827 - d.1882) was ensign from 8th August 1845 in 42nd Regiment of Foot, purchased his Cornetcy 30th March 1847 into the 5th DG. He attained his lieutenancy on 10th April 1849 and his captaincy on 24th December 1852. He survived the war and went on to become Lieutenant-Colonel of the 7th Dragoon Guards on 1st June 1862.
Squadron commander Captain William Inglis
William Inglis had purchased his captaincy into the 5th DG in February 1854. He survived Balaclava and was breveted Major in April 1854.
Captain William Richard Newport Campbell was a career soldier, having commenced as ensign with the 92nd foot, promoted Lieutenant with the 47th foot (possibly a brevet rank). He had his promotion to Lieutenant gazette on 15 July 1841 with the 9th Light Dragoons. He survived Balaclava but died at Scutari on 23rd December 1854 falling, “victim to the hardships and privations of the Crimean campaign” (disease) according to the inscription on his gravestone. 
Lieutenant Halford
Charles Augustus Drake Halford (b.1831 – d.1907) purchased his cornetcy with the 5th DG on 30th March 1849 and went on to purchase his Lieutenancy 5th April 1850 and held that rank at Balaclava. It is worth noting that his photographs by Fenton are often labeled Captain – a rank he obtained sometime after the battle.
Lieutenant Godman with Private Kilman and his horse 'Earl'.
Richard Temple Godman, having previously purchased his cornetcy, attained his lieutenancy on 3rd March 1854. He survived the battle and the campaign, attaining his captaincy on 21st July 1855; he attained his majority some years later on 22nd June 1870 and finally attained full colonel in 1876. He retired in 1882 with the honorary title of Major General. He is known for his photographs by Fenton and for his published ‘Letters from the Crimea’.
Sergeant-Major Stewart taken 1856
Troop Sergeant-Major William Fife Stewart, a Scotsman, enlisted with the 5th in 1837 at 23 years of age. He made corporal by September 1847 (aged 33) and Sergeant in June 1852 (aged 42) and made Troop Sergeant-Major in September 1854 just prior to the battle. Throughout the day it was reported he had three horses killed underneath him – the first was rifle-shot, the second died from a shell burst and the third lost a leg to cannon fire but Stewart fought on. His exploits brought him to the notice of Queen Victoria who commissioned his photo in 1856. He died of sickness in 1859.

A History of the British Cavalry 1816-1919: Volume 2: 1851-1871By Lord Anglesey
The Invasion of the Crimea, It’s Origin, an Account of it’s Progress down to the death of Lord Raglan by Alexander Kinglake Vol IV, 1868. 
The London Gazette. 
Edinburgh Gazette.

Friday, April 13, 2018

6th Inniskilling Dragoons: Great War Miniatures

Not sure exactly why I'm posting these images other than this is the latest unit I finished last weekend - my 6th Inniskilling Dragoons. The figures as of course Great War Miniatures which are just superb.
I suppose I'm chronicling the evolution of my army but I've yet to complete and post my historical overview of the regiment on campaign - it's 80% complete. I usually do that first but I cracked on with the painting after my 5th Dragoons Guards (see previous posting) - which is by no means a bad thing.
There's nothing particularly noteworthy about this build from the previous one except to note that you will see - or rather not see one sock or blaze on any of the horses. I though about it of course but I just elected not to this time. I went for a range of dark bays and blacks. I rather suspect this unit is therefore presenting a very unlikely colour pattern range for their mounts.
The distinctive feature of the regiment at Balaclava was that they rode into action without gauntlets - the only regiment of the heavies to do so. I had to ask Nick Eyre of Northstar Military Figures to send me the correct sword arms after a gaff in the original order. Nick was only too happy to oblige and I must say I found it almost disturbing how easily the few incorrectly fixed arms I had already attached came off.  Still, all good now.
Okay the last two shots are a demi-brigade if you like - my 5th Dragoons Guards and the 6th Inniskilling together. I've packed them up now for shipping home to Canberra but I wanted to see how they photographed together. Shame the Scots Greys aren't with me to include.
Whilst I bought the entire Light Brigade first since the subsequent release of the Heavy Brigade by Great War Miniatures I got so excited about their release that I've now completed three of the five regiments as opposed to only two of the Lights. In July I'll be retrieving more of my unpainted white metal and will bring the rest of my cavalry back to Tonga to get on with it. In the meantime I've ordered my first Cossack regiment.

Friday, March 23, 2018

5th Dragoon Guards: Great War Miniatures

I took longer to get to these than I had planned but here is the second of my heavy brigade regiments, my 5th (Princess Charlotte of Wale's) Dragon Guards.
Well these Great War Miniatures are simply fantastic figures and a complete pleasure to work with. I even feel they are better looking than their Scots Greys - tough call. I have always loved the particular uniforms of the heavy cavalry of this period and I'm very pleased to be building my own heavy brigade.
I'm glad in a way I didn't get to them until now as I've changed the way I paint brass and I am far happier with my results - mainly applied to the helmet detail.
Essentially there will be little difference between this regiment and the rest save for the Inniskillings who go bare-handed who I am doing next. But that's fine by me - they are a joy to see evolving from bare metal to full colour.
Bays or mainly darker variants and one grey make up the mounts for this lot and I deliberately held back this time on socks for the horses. They were far easier than all those greys for the 2nd.
I'll be cutting the bases back on my band saw when I get back to Oz - bit too generous up front. It'll be nice to finish the bases once I know what the table-top will look like for the perfect match. Anyway, whilst I promised myself no more figures until I reduced my current unpainted metal pile, I can feel myself giving out to some Great War Miniatures Russian cavalry to cross sabres. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

6th Dragoons (Inniskilling) Part 1: Battle History

Charge of the Heavy Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava by Orlando Norie
What follows is my internet based research on the regimental history of the 6th Dragoons from embarkation to the battle of Balaclava. It does not include reference to Major ES Jackson's The Inniskilling Dragoons: The Records of an Old Cavalry Regiment (1909) which appears the only historical publication of the Regiment covering the period - it is only available to purchase or physically accessible in libraries not available to me from Tonga. Nevertheless, I have unearthed a number of details not found in the brief on-line unit histories more readily accessed. I hope you find it interesting or even of use.


The 6th Inniskilling Dragoons motto was “Honi soit qui mal y pense” or “evil be to him who evil thinks”. Their nick-names across history were ‘the skins’, the ‘black dragoons’ from 1715 because of their black horses, the ‘old inniskillings’ and the ‘skilingers’. Regimental marches were “The Inniskilling Dragoons” (anonymous) and “Fare thee well Inniskilling’.

The Colonel of the Regiment at this time was career officer Sir George Pownall Adams who purchased colonelcy of the 6th in 1840. He was born 1779 and was 75 years old at the outbreak of war, dyeing in 1856 aged 77. In keeping with British military tradition and perhaps obviously, he was not present during the campaign – the regiment being under the direct command of the Lieutenant Colonel.

The Regiment shipped out from Plymouth for the Crimea in five transports when the first calamity beset them on 21 May 1854. Just 200 miles out a fire broke out on the Regimental Headquarters transport Europa. The fire killed Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Willoughby Moore, veterinary surgeon Kelly (probationary) Mrs Parsons (one of the accompanying wives), 16 other ranks, all the horses (13 officer and 44 trooper mounts) and the baggage on board. A memorial plaque can be found at Chelsea Hospital commemorating the victims.
Europa - London Illustrated News 1854

The Europa was a small sail rigged vessel and some accused the extent of the tragedy on the sailors who were alleged to have abandoned ship prematurely, taking to the life boats and abandoning the above victims to their fate. This Europa is not to be confused with another Crimea campaign transport, the RMS Europa which continued in service until 1866.

The transportation of horses more generally in the Crimean campaign was subject to criticism. The mounts were cramped into tighter stalls that in the days of Napoleon’s wars with no room for the horses to move or lie down and rest. This unduly fatigued the animals in prolonged journeys. The British army had not transported cavalry mounts or the heavy cavalry regiments since 1838. It had been more usual for light cavalry regiments to serve overseas and for transportation to India, the troopers shipped alone and adopted the mounts of the regiments they relieved.

In separate incidents, a further 75 horses were lost at sea, and when the 6th finally landed in the Crimea, cholera ravished the men. We are told that the Regiment lost approximately half their horses by the time they departed Turkey. On the journey from Varna on 27th September a storm forced the transports return until, re-embarking, the Regiment eventually reached Balaclava 7 October. Losses during the storm were extreme with one squadron (two troops) disembarking only 6 from 75 mounts which left England.

Along with the rest of the heavy brigade, the Inniskillings joined the army at Balaclava. The Regiment had particularly suffered losses of men and horses through sickness and mishap. The particular mortality experienced outside of combat was subject to review by the House of Lords in 1856 as was the state of the army on campaign. Just prior to the battle, on 17 October Colonel Paulet (Assistant Adjutant General) ordered the transfer of 100 horses from the Light to the Heavy Brigade, 35 of which were assigned to the Inniskillings.

Henry Dalrymple White (born 1820, aged 34) assumed command of the Regiment. White was a career officer of the Regiment having purchased his Lieutenancy with the 6th in 1839, his Captaincy in the 6th gazetted 17 May 1844 and made Major 22 December 1848.

Second in command was Major Charles Cameron Shute (aged 38 at Balaclava) who had transferred to the 6th in 1840 as lieutenant and was promoted Major in June 1854 – presumably a field promotion along with Dalrymple White after the demise of the Lt Col Willoughby Moore on the Europa. Shute was to become Colonel of the regiment and the image (right) is of Colonel Shute from 1858.

Major Robert George Manley had purchased his captaincy in February 1853. We know he commanded the second squadron at Balaclava, presumably being field promoted similar to his colleagues following the tragedy of the Europa. He had his Brevet Majority listed in December that year (1854). As above, the photograph of Manly is from 1858 whilst he remained with the regiment.

During the Balaclava Charge of the Heavy Brigade, the Inniskillings composed the right flank of the front line (second squadron with Dalrymple White and under the command of Major Manley) and the right flank second line (first squadron to the rear and right with Major Shute). 

Charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava by Godfrey Douglas Giles (1897) depicting the Inniskilings in the centre rear-ground..

Dalrymple White controlled the pace of the charge for the Inniskillings to hold line with the Greys to their immediate left whose advance was impeded by the encampment (see my Grey’s account) in spite of Brigadier Scarlet outdistancing himself and impacting with the Russian cavalry in isolation along with his immediate entourage. As the brigade closed on the enemy the two lines were converging according to Kinslake. Dalrymple White was the next person to make contact with the enemy along with his regiment who we are told went in with a ‘cheer’. The heavy cavalry drove into the Russian light cavalry who were backed up from a rolling slope and unfortunately for the Russians were caught at the halt.
Charge of the Heavy Brigade by Harry Payne depicting the Iniskilling but incorrectly with their gauntlets.

The precise speed of the impact is unclear. The Brigade is said to have achieved the momentum of anything from a trot to a gallop. In any event, the size of the riders and mounts gave the heavies a distinct advantage in height and momentum. It is acknowledged at this period that British cavalry preferred larger breeds than even their European contemporaries for light cavalry - let alone the heavy regiments. Even once the force of the engagement broke down to clusters of skirmishers, it's not difficult to appreciate the large mounts shifting and knocking the lighter Russian hussar horses about as the big men slashed and struck down blows on their disadvantaged adversaries. 

The first wave comprising the second squadron penetrated to the rear of the Russian column but remained within the immediate mass to continue the melee. During the fighting Dalrymple White took a blow to his helmet which folded it to the scull and can be seen on exhibit today at the York Army Museum. The enemy cavalry to their immediate front were the Ingermanland Hussars, under the command of Major General Khaletsky. Shortly after first impact, the second line of the Brigade collided into melee which included the 1st Squadron Inniskilling under Shute. The entire fight lasted not much more than ten minutes with the Russians retreating under the cannon fire of Captain Brandling’s C Battery RHA.

The casualty returns for the Regiment included in Adjutant General Bucknall Escourt’s report for 26th-28th October 1854 put the losses at 2 rank and file troopers dead (with two horses) with 3 sergeants and ten other ranks wounded. In fact, the casualties sustained across the entire heavy brigade for the battle including the abortive support for the Light Brigade charge are extraordinarily light. 
Surgeon General Sir James Mouat VC by Hussaly - thanks to Cranston Fine Arts

Perhaps the most noteworthy incident of the day was the action undertaken by Regimental Surgeon James Mouat. He took to the field under enemy fire into the infamous Valley and with the assistance of Corporal Charles Wooden (17th Lancers) he tended to Captain Morris who was critically wounded (of the 17th Lancers). Morris was hemorrhaging and Mouat with Wooden are credited with saving Morris' life.

For this action Mouat became the first medical man to receive the Victoria Cross. Wooden was also awarded the VC and whilst of the 17th Lancers during the campaign, he rose to the rank of Sergeant Major by 1858 with the 6th Dragoons and is depicted right.

I found an interesting postscript within the divisional orders of Lord Lucan of 28th October addressing the disposal of plunder by the men of the cavalry division to wit, the personal sale of horses seized which should belong to the crown. There was clearly a bit of it going on. By the order of 1st November these seizures were incorporated as remounts within their respective regiments.

Anyone interested in following up further research on the 6th at Balaclava should get themselves to the National Army Museum in Chelsea. They have there several artifacts including Dalrymple White’s sword and within their archives the letters of Cornet Henry Timson of the Regiment who gives an account. Being on the other side of the world I’m not able to.


A History of the British Cavalry 1816-1919: Volume 2: 1851-1871 By Lord Anglese

Mrs Duberly's War: Journal and Letters from the Crimea by Frances Isabella Locke Duberly

Letters from the Light Brigade: The British Cavalry in the Crimean War by Anthony Dawson

From Waterloo to Balaclava: Tactics, Technology, and the British Army 1815-1854 by Hew Strachan

THE INVASION OF THE CRIMEA: Its Origin, and an Account of its Progress down to the Death of Lord Raglan by Alexander Kinslake.

The London Gazette – issues from 1854

General Orders and Dispatches of Lord Lucan