The Battle of the Alma took place on 20th September 1854 during the Crimean War. To this day it is remembered by the Royal Welsh for the bravery displayed by their predecessors, and remains particularly important to the Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess. From ‘That Astonishing Infantry’, by Michael Glover & Jonathon Riley:
“As the 23rd approached the earthwork Ensign J H Butler, carrying the Regimental Colour, fell dead and Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Chester seized the Colour while Sergeant Luke O’Connor, one of the covering sergeants urged Ensign Henry Anstruther, bearing the Queen’s Colour, ‘to come up higher and nearer the enemy as it was safer’. At this point the Russian guns ceased firing and in the comparative silence could be heard the sound of teams limbering up. There was a cry of ‘They are taking the guns away!’ and there was a rush forward led by Anstruther. Then, according to Sergeant O’Connnor:
‘Getting near the redoubt, about 30 yards away, Lieutenant Anstruther was shot dead and I was badly wounded in the breast with to ribs broken. Others then came up. I jumped and took the Colour from Corporal Luby, rushed to the Redoubt and planted it there.’ ”
As the Russian’s attempted to withdraw their cannon from the Redoubt: “Captain Edward Bell darted forward and, holding a pistol to the driver’s head, compelled him to dismount. Then he turned the horses’ heads and sent them round the shoulder of the earthwork and down the hill to the river.”
Captain Bell and Sgt Luke O’Connor would be recognised for their Valour when the Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856, Sgt Luke O’ Connor being the first Army recipient.
Bell’s Cannon & both men’s VCs can be seen at the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in Caernarfon Castle
TO THE MEMORY OF LIEUT. COLONEL HARRY GEORGE CHESTER.
ARTHUR WATKIN WILLIAMS WYNN.
FRANCIS EDWARD EVANS.
WILLIAM PITCAIRN CAMPBELL.
JOHN CHARLES CONOLLY.
FREDERICK PETER DELME RADCLIFFE.
SIR WILLIAM NORRIS YOUNG Bart.
JOSEPH HENRY BUTLER.
SERGEANT MAJOR H. JONES.
COLOUR SERGEANT R. HITCHCOCK.
SERGEANT F. EDWARDS.
DRUMMER J. COLLINS.
G. DOBSON. T. MALONEY. J. WELLS. C. BARNETT.
J. HANDRAHAN. J. GROOMS. M. CLACK. H. HINE.
L. KELLY. J. LYNCH. E. JONES. T. LYNCH.
R. MARSH. T. OWENS. E. WILLIAMS. J. BADCOCK.
J. HARRINGTON. J. KNIGHTLEY. P. PETERSON. T. SEYMOUR.
J. HALL. J. FRY. H. HUSBAND. W. LINES.
W. MARTIN. D. POVEY. J. POWELL. T. RANDALL.
J. STEVENS. J. FRY. J. WILLIAMS. S. DRAPER.
H. GODDARD. G. LOWMAN. T. SPILLER. R. WALTERS.
T. CONNOR. G. EVANS. J. EVANS.
OF THE ROYAL WELSH FUSILIERS.
WHO FELL 20TH SEPT 1854.
Source: Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Facebook); Memorial.
For further detailed information on the Battle of Alma go here.