Weaste Cemetery

Charge of the light brigade

Weaste cemetery is the final resting place of four Crimean war veterans who rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade.


One of the most famous events in the history of the British Army, the Charge of the Light Brigade took place in Balaclava on October 25th 1854. After a series of misunderstandings by the army leaders, 673 soldiers armed only with sabres were ordered to charge at the Russian Army and its guns The Light Brigade rode directly into the firing line of the Russian artillery. There,
in the Valley of Death, almost half of the men were killed, wounded or captured.


James Cameron, Ferdinand Stanley, Joseph Ireland and David Andrews survived the bloodbath and were later buried at Weaste Cemetery. No one can deny the bravery of the soldiers who rode in the charge. As they rode down the valley, the Brigade was showered with shot and shell. The soldiers were under fire from the Russian guns at their left and their right.


Men and horses were dropping in twos and threes but on swept the Light Brigade. On and on they rode, for more than a mile, under severe fire from the enemy the whole time. Through the acrid smoke they rode with the deafening roar of cannon all around them. William Howard Russell was a reporter who witnessed the charge. 'We could hardly believe the evidence of our senses. Surely that handful of men were not going to charge an army in position? Alas! It was but too true-their desperate valour knew no bounds... A more fearful spectacle was never witnessed (as we saw) our heroic countrymen rushing to the arms of sudden death...'


Russell described how the light brigade advanced toward the Russian army (estimated at 25,000 -30,000) 'At the distance of 1200 yards the whole line of the enemy belched forth, from thirty iron mouths, a flood of smoke and flame through which hissed the deadly balls. Their flight was marked by instant gaps in the ranks, the dead men and horses, by steeds flying wounded or riderless across the plain' But the Light Brigade did not falter. 'Through the clouds of smoke we could see their sabres flashing as they rode up to the guns and dashed between them, cutting down the gunners as they stood.'