Discussion in 'War Diaries' started by Kyt, Nov 5, 2008.
BBC NEWS | England | Shropshire | Account of doomed charge for sale
4,500 pounds for the Charge of the Light Brigade .... I wonder who it was who sold it ?? ...... I think I have a pretty good idea who bought it .... ( at least I hope so !! ) :clapping:
Â£4,500 charge for the Light Brigade : Shropshire Star:
James Olley, 'Old Balaklava' 1832-1920
James Olley was already an old man when he went to live at Salthouse in the house that is now known as Marsh Cottage. His fame, as a soldier who fought in the Crimean War and actually took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade, was widely known and, due to the fact that he lived over the years in many different places in North Norfolk, there are probably many villages besides Salthouse who remember him as their own hero.
Tennyson's poem made ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ in the Crimean War famous, and excited the public in the romanticism of the 'do or die' blind obedience of the British Soldier, but the very few who amazingly survived that famous charge were more or less forgotten. Life in the British Army in the 1880s was hard enough, but unless he had a trade to take up when his time was served, an ex-soldier's outlook was often even harder. James Olley fell on hard times after his return to civilian life. He was reduced to begging in the streets of Knapton with a placard round his neck. But he was noticed and was identified as having played the part he did by the Squire, Mr H. M. Robinson of Knapton Hall, who was Justice of the Peace. He took action to put things right in a stirring article deploring the fact that someone who had taken part in one of the most celebrated military events of the time, should be forced to beg. In the Dereham and Fakenenham Times of 14 January 1888, he declared publicly that 'No one of the gallant six hundred should have to petition for the means to put himself in the way of earning a livelihood'. He called upon readers to donate to a fund to put James Olley 'into some little business'.
"It was very queer going down the valley, a good deal worse than it was when I got to the guns . . . The first man I happened with at the guns was a Russian gunner who attacked me with a ramrod. I felled him at the muzzle of the gun he was defending with two strokes of my sword . . . Just as I killed the gunner, I saw several Russians dash at the Earl of Cardigan who was near the breech of a big gun; but his horse brought him safely over the limber towards us. I never saw him again in the battle.
"Whilst fighting at the guns, I received two lance wounds, one in the ribs and one in the neck from behind. The Russian Lancer in the rear who stabbed me was killed by a comrade and I struck down the other. In this cavalry encounter, I was wounded with a sabre across the forehead by a Russian dragoon. He made "Cut 7" at me . . . I gave him point and stabbed him.
The sword fell from his hand and the point penetrated my foot . . . ‘
" When we were retiring we met some Russian lancers. We made a charge and they fled to the left incline and rode past. Just after passing the cavalry I got a ball from the Russian infantry on my left. It went through my left eye, passed through my nostrils and the roof of my mouth and came out against my right eye. I did not know at the time that my eye was out. It was not painful at the time; afterwards the suffering was dreadful. After being thus wounded, I still kept the saddle [he had already had one horse shot from under him but had managed to remount that of a fallen trooper] though blood was pouring from my mouth and nostrils, as well as running from my forehead . . . When I came out of battle the Paymaster did not recognise me. I was then blind . . ."
In the Parish Registers for ELSING, Norfolk, is a burial entry for 8 September 1920 for a JAMES OLLEY aged 88. An additional note states that he "Fought in the famous Charge of the Light Brigade in the Russian War. Buried with Military Honours."
To add a little more about James Olley:
Private James Olley of the 4th Light Dragoons was wounded in the Charge of the Light Brigade on 25th October 1854 when his horse was shot. There is an extensive entry for him in 'Honour the Light Brigade' by William M. Lummis and Kenneth G. Wynn (London: J.B. Hayward and Son, 1973).
He was born at Hanworth, near Aylsham, Norfolk; 16th May 1838 and enlisted 6th November 1852. He was invalided to England early in 1855. Died about 4th September 1920 at Balaclava Cottage, Elsing, Norfolk. Buried 8th September 1920 in Elsing Churchyard in an unmarked grave.
He was one of the wounded men seen by Queen Victoria at Brompton Barracks, 3rd March 1855. He had lost the sight of his left eye.
Olley was the Son of Peter Olley, a labourer and his wife Mary Ann. After his discharge he lived in various places in North Norfolk - Blakeney, Field Dalling, Holt (where he was a horse trainer), Knapton, Salthouse, Lyng and Elsing.
He was the last 4th Light Dragoons survivor of the Charge. The above is part of the entry for Olley in 'Honour the Light Brigade'.
RootsWeb: NORFOLK-L Re: Charge of the Light Brigade - James OLLEY
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