Alfred, Lord Tennyson immortalized these six hundred British soldiers in his famous poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. This commemorated the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War (1864-66), in which Russia, Turkey, Britain and France were involved.
The Light Brigade (the six hundred) was told, in a confusion of orders, to charge strong Russian batteries. They suffered heavy losses and fever than one-third survived. Tennyson recounted the heroic story and his poem ended with the words:
‘When can their glory fade?
Oh, the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade
Noble six hundred!’
The Crimean War was chiefly caused by Russia’s ambition to control Constantinople. Turkey declared war in 1853 and Britain entered the war with France as an ally. An outstanding figure of the war was Florence Nightingale who revolutionized the nursing of the wounded. Balaclava was one of the great battles of the campaign which finally forced Russia to abandon her claims.