The Battle of Balaclava, fought on 25 October 1854 during the Crimean War, was part of the Siege of Sevastopol, an Allied attempt to capture the port and fortress of Sevastopol, Russia’s principal naval base on the Black Sea.
The Honour is borne on the Guidon of the 8th Hussars.
The 4th (Queen’s Own) Light Dragoons and the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars both fought in this, the most famous of all cavalry actions: The Charge of the Light Brigade.
Lord Raglan, The Commander-in-Chief, wished Lord Lucan, the cavalry commander, to prevent the Russians from removing the guns that they had captured on the Causeway Heights.
Owing to inaccurate passage of information and a difference of perspective, Lucan ended up ordering Lord Cardigan to use his Light Brigade to capture an entirely different objective: the Russians guns at the other end of the valley, a mile and a half away.
The Brigade set off in impeccable formation, the 4th and the 8th as the second line behind the 11th Hussars, 17th Lancers and the 13th Hussars, all the way enduring heavy fire from the guns on both sides of the valley and, when in range, those of their objective.
Each line in turn crashed onto and through the position, clashing with the massed ranks of the enemy’s cavalry beyond the guns.
The 8th, under Colonel Shewell, charged through the position into the enemy cavalry beyond before turning in perfect formation and driving off a force of Cossacks that were threatening their flanks.
Of the 118 men of the 4th that started the charge only 39 returned, and of the 104 men of the 8th only 38 came back: in all 409 of the 607 men in the Light Brigade were either killed or missing.