Search This Blog

Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Crimean War

The Crimean War begun in October 1853 between Russia and the Turkish-based Ottoman Empire. On March 28, 1854, after Russia ignored an Anglo-French ultimatum to withdraw from the Danubian Principalities, the UK and France formally declared war.

Modern nursing had its roots in the Crimean War,  as war correspondents for newspapers reported the scandalous treatment of wounded soldiers in the first desperate winter, prompting the pioneering work of women such as Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole, Frances Margaret Taylor and others.

Florence Nightingale and a staff of 38 nurses were sent to the Crimean War on October 21, 1854. They brought the death rate down 20 times within a space of a few months following their arrival in the Crimea.

The Lady with the Lamp. Reproduction of a painting of Nightingale by Henrietta Rae, 1891.

British forces in Crimea were commanded by Lord Raglan, who took to wearing ‘raglan sleeves’ after losing an arm at the Battle of Waterloo.

The number of men who charged with the Light Brigade on October 25, 1854 was 673.

British cavalry charging against Russian forces at the Balaclava

The leader of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava was the 7th Earl of Cardigan. He popularized cardigans after wearing them to keep warm during the Crimea War.

Balaclavas take their name from the Battle of Balaclava, where British troops wore knitted headgear later known as balaclavas to keep heads, faces and ears warm.

The achievement of the British and French expeditionary forces in capturing Sebastopol at the Battle of Balaclava showcased many technological developments for the first time. They included the use of the telegram to communicate with home and the advantages of the Minie rifle over the smooth bore musket.

The Victoria Cross was introduced on January 29, 1856 by Queen Victoria to honor acts of valor during the Crimean War. Struck from the metal of Russian guns captured in the Crimean War, its first recipient was John Simpson Knox, of the Scots Guards, for valor at the 1854 Battle of the Alma. Later in the campaign, a Russian cannonball tore away his left arm.

Irishman Charles Davis Lucas performed the earliest actions to be recognized with the Victoria Cross It was awarded for conspicuous bravery during the naval bombardment of Bomarsund on June 21, 1854.

"Victoria Cross Medal Ribbon & Bar" by Richard Harvey -  Wikipedia Commons - 

The war was officially ended by the Treaty of Paris, signed on March 30, 1856. The treaty made the Black Sea neutral territory, closing it to all warships, and prohibiting fortifications and the presence of armaments on its shores.

Edouard Louis Dubufe, Congrès de Paris, 1856, Palace of Versailles.

19,600 Britons died in the Crimean War of which 15,700 were due to disease. The British Army lost ten times more troops to dysentery than to battle wounds. However Florence Nightingale succeeded in reducing the Crimean War Hospital death rate from 42% to 2%.

The last survivor of the war was a tortoise: named Timothy, it was a ship’s mascot on HMS Queen which took part in the bombardment of Sevastopol. Timothy died in 2004 aged about 165. Actually, Timothy the Tortoise was a girl.

The 7th Earl of Cardigan (see below) died on the 14th anniversary of Britain entering the war, March 28, 1868, after falling from a horse.

Source Daily Express

No comments:

Post a Comment