Leicester

Marked grave for survivor of Charge of the Light Brigade

Jason Robinson
Image caption Jason Robinson is paying for a headstone to be installed for his great-great-great grandfather

A man, believed to have been a Charge of the Light Brigade survivor, is to be recognised with a marked grave after a campaign by one of his descendants.

Private John Burton was buried in an unmarked grave at Welford Road Cemetery in Leicester, 15 years after the Crimean War.

About 300 British cavalrymen were killed or injured when they charged Russian artillery on 25 October, 1854.

Mr Burton's relative Jason Robinson is to get a headstone installed next year.

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Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A reconstruction of the Charge of the Light Brigade filmed in Aldershot for the silent film Balaclava in 1928

Alfred Lord Tennyson's the Charge of the Light Brigade poem has long held the public's imagination about the tragedy.

The charge is considered to be a symbol of "glorious failure" by many historians.

Pte Burton, who served with the 11th Hussars regiment, is thought to have been one of the lucky survivors - the only one from Leicester, it is believed.

Mr Robinson, from Aldershot, Hampshire, recently visited the grave for the first time.

Image caption John Burton's campaign medal has been passed down through the generations

He said: "[John Burton] worked as a butcher in the Russell Square area [of Leicester] where he lived with his wife and four or five children.

"You would never think there was a grave, [it's] just flat grass. It's quite moving really.

"Hopefully next year things will be changing... it's about time he was recognised.

"At least then it's there for all time and for other people to appreciate too as part of our history and culture."

Image caption A map was used to find where the grave lies

Alan Brown, from Leicester City Council, said the grave had had no memorial for about 150 years.

He said: "It's nice that family members this far after the burial are willing to come along and put up a memorial to [John Burton].

"To have someone from the Charge of the Light Brigade interred [here] is great news for the cemetery and visitors."


The Charge of the Light Brigade 1854

Image copyright Hulton Archive
Image caption The charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War
  • The Light Brigade was commanded by the Earl of Cardigan in Crimea in 1854
  • An order was misinterpreted and led to a charge of 673 soldiers into rows of Russian artillery
  • They were bombarded from all sides and suffered heavy casualties
  • It was a fiasco and only a charge by French cavalry saved the Light Brigade from total destruction
  • The disaster led to a blame game between senior army officers

Source: National Archives


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