History Podcasts

Battles of the Crimean War, W. Baring-Pemberton

Battles of the Crimean War, W. Baring-Pemberton

Battles of the Crimean War, W. Baring-Pemberton

Battles of the Crimean War, W. Baring-Pemberton

Despite its age, this is one of the best military histories of the Crimean War, with good accounts of all the major battles, well supported by quotes from the combatants.

The battlefield accounts are linked by brief historical accounts, allowing one to follow the course of the war.

Author: W. Baring-Pemberton
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 256
Publisher: Macmillan
Year: 1968


Battles of the Crimean War

The Crimean War has been called ‘the last great war to be fought without the help of modern resources of science’. It was also the last great war to be fought by the British army in all its splendour of scarlet and gold, using weapons and tactics which would not have astonished the Prince Rupert or the Duke of Marlborough. Many who fought in the First, and not a few who fought in the Second, World War will have known personally those who took part in such battles and heard their accounts from their own lips.

On the other hand no campaign should be more familiar, because none has been ‘covered’ more fully and more candidly. The historian of the Crimean battles has then (it would appear) only to make a synthesis of the innumerable letters and reports and his story is complete. Unfortunately this is not so. With smoke from the black powder then used drifting across the battlefield, lying heavily over batteries, the combatant could often see and report little more than what had happened in his vicinity and even in this he is not necessarily reliable…

As for those who recollected in tranquillity—and there were many—it is enough to record the remark of a contemporary Canadian military historian: ‘Memory can play tricks upon an officer after some lapse of time, especially when the officer’s own interest and prejudice are engaged.’

Beset by these difficulties the writer who surrounds every incident with reservations and qualifications will rapidly weary his readers. He must on matters of moment, such for example as Nolan’s responsibility for the Light Brigade charge, use his judgment on the evidence available and make up his own mind. This I have tried to do.”


Crimean war

For centuries, one central goal of Russian foreign policy was to obtain a warm water port in the south--namely, at the Bosporus Straits and the Strait of the Dardanelles, the small waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. In 1854, the decaying Ottoman Empire controlled that essential waterway and Russia sought increased power in this region.

In 1853, St. Petersburg demanded that the Ottoman Empire recognize Russia's right to protect Eastern Orthodox believers in Turkey. When Turkey refused, Russia sent troops into Ottoman territory. Fearing increased Russian power and an upset to the balance of power on the Continent, Great Britain and France declared war on Russia on March 28, 1854. Russia fared well against its weaker neighbor to the south, destroying the Turkish fleet off the coast of Sinope, a port city in north-central Asia Minor. However, in September 1854, the British and French laid siege to Sevastopol, Russia's heavily fortified chief naval base in the Black Sea, lying on the Crimean peninsula. After just under one year of constant battle, the Russian abandoned the fortress, blowing up their fortifications and sinking their own ships. Meanwhile, at nearby Balaklava, British troops charged down a narrow valley that was flanked by Russian guns on both sides. Nearly every British soldier fell dead in what came to be called the Valley of Death. The name of the British group was the Light Brigade, giving rise to the famous Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem, "The Charge of the Light Brigade."

Russia's new tsar, Alexander II, sued for peace in 1856. In the resulting Peace of Paris, Russia relinquished its claim as Christian protector in Turkey, the Black Sea was neutralized, and the balance of power was maintained.

The Crimean War had the highest casualty rate of any conflict in Europe between 1815 and 1914, the century-long peace maintained by the balance of power. Disease killed many, but poor leadership killed thousands more. It was the final war in which the Ottoman Empire had any victorious role, though even in the Crimea, Russia fared quite well against the Turks. The greater importance of the Crimean War is embodied in one international and one national element.

In terms of European international relations, the Crimean War marked the end of the veritable charade of Russian military dominance on the Continent. Granted, the Russian army was the largest force due to its sheer numbers however, it was soundly defeated by smaller British and French forces, and its navy proved utterly useless and backward by the middle of the nineteenth century. It was Russia who guaranteed to maintain order and balance after the defeat of the Napoleon--it did so with Austria, Prussia, and France since then. Now, that power was effectively eliminated therefore, the demise of the balance of power could not be far behind.

On the national scale, the Crimean War, some historians have argued, marked the beginning of the road to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The following have been identified as participants:

Notes:
1. Prior to 1920 each regiment issued their own service numbers which were unique only within that regiment, so the same number could be issued many times in different regiments. When a serviceman moved, he would be given a new service number by his new regiment.


Armies at the time of the Crimean War

In most armies at the time of the Crimean War, there was a clear division between the officers and the enlisted men. The officers tended to be aristocrats who were schooled from childhood about honor and glory. There was a sense among many officers that there was no glory in a death other than in combat and that cowardice meant certain disgrace. The quest for glory led to several actions during the war that can only be labeled military follies, the most stunning example being the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade (1854), commemorated in a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892). Rank-and-file troops often had a perspective on the war that was different from that of their commanders and were motivated by appeals to national pride, regimental pride, or a sense of competition between regiments.

In the 1850’s army officers were not typically trained to think about supplies or to plan ahead. This lack of emphasis on strategic planning meant that the Allied armies entered the Crimean War without any knowledge of battlefield terrain. The commanders were also ignorant of the local climate and the size of the forces they would face. For instance, the British commander Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, the Baron Raglan (1788-1855), assumed that fresh water supplies and horses would be available. The British took neither medical supplies nor their hospital wagons with them during the invasion of the Crimea and, in fact, made no provisions at all to care for wounded soldiers. The supply base built by the British was at Balaklava, at times more than 9 miles from the front lines. The only way to the base was along a dirt road that ran uphill and became a river of mud when it rained. The situation was made worse by the lack of pack animals all supplies had to be carried to the front by the soldiers themselves. Only at the end of April, 1855, was a rail link completed between the British supply base at Balaklava and the front.

The British were not alone in these oversights, however the Turks had little transport to speak of and had made an agreement with the British to supply them. Because the Turks did not organize their own supply trains and the British were not in a position to fulfill the agreement, Turkish soldiers were forced to live off the land. The French were closer to their supply base and were accompanied by viviandieres, young women who acted as provisioners for the French troops. Because the French had brought pack animals to use for the transportation of material, they transported food and ammunition for all of the Allied armies. The situation was equally bad for the Russian soldiers. Their officers frequently stole the funds allocated to purchase food, and supply conveys were often delayed by poor weather.

The officers who served during the Crimean War were no better at planning battles than they were at organizing their forces. Despite the creation of a Turkish military academy in 1834, many senior Turkish officers remained illiterate. British officers received little formal military training, and the vast majority had not studied maps, topography, or military tactics. Moreover, in peacetime these officers spent little time with their regiments and preferred to leave the day-to-day management to their sergeants. Similarly, Russian officers were not required to have any formal knowledge of military tactics. Only the French officers received a solid military training at several military academies. They were expected to study map reading, tactics, fortification, and topography. Their grasp of the material was tested through regular examinations and regiment inspections, but the training of the French officers was nullified once the campaign in the Crimea began. British senior officers did not get along well with the French commanders, who tended to come from less distinguished and less wealthy families. Because the Allies needed to coordinate their forces in battle, it was imperative for the commanders to agree on a strategy. However, as the war began the Allies could agree upon no coordinated plan. Joint command quickly broke down amid personal rivalries between the commanders. The lack of coordination wasmost evident during the Siege of Sevastopol. The original plan was for the Allied armies to attack the city from the north, destroy the city’s docks, and sink the Russian fleet. However, this plan was eventually abandoned in favor of a joint British and French attack from the south. The Turks took no direct part in the Siege of Sevastopol. A strong assault as soon as the British forces were in place would most likely have succeeded in taking the city, but the French commanders insisted on waiting for the arrival of their siege guns before the engagement began. In the end, the Allies camped nearby and waited for almost a month before firing any weapons at the city’s defenders. The reprieve gave the general in charge of Sevastopol’s defenses time to build a series of fortifications and await reinforcements. By the time the British and French commanders agreed to attack the city, it was virtually impregnable. It ultimately took almost a year for the Allies to take Sevastopol.

The Crimean War saw two distinct types of warfare: land battles and sieges. The tactics used by the armies varied depending on the situation and on their national traditions. During land battles, the British infantry would advance in a line, unhurriedly and silently, toward the enemy fire. In contrast, the French commanders encouraged individual initiative and had trained their troops in athletics, hand-to-hand combat, and mountain climbing. French soldiers rushed to the attack as quickly as possible, in part because their officers believed they would retreat otherwise. Both the French and the Russians would scream and shout as they advanced. The Russian army’s main infantry tactic was to have the troops advance in densely packed columns at the same time as the enemy approached and to fire at the enemy as the Russians advanced. The troops were told that aiming was not important, and few of the bullets found their mark, because target practice was not part of a Russian soldier’s normal training. After using their firearms, the Russians would then charge with their bayonets. The types of advances used by all of the armies in the Crimean War actually made it easier for the enemy to kill the advancing soldiers. Troops were often under fire for more than a mile before they engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. Moreover, in their brightly colored uniforms, soldiers could be seen so far away that advances lacked any element of surprise. Joint maneuvers also proved difficult during the war. No army would agree to deviate from its tactics in order to better synchronize an attack. Instead, for instance, the British soldiers were told to maintain the discipline of their advance and not to try to match the pace set by the French. Commanders, often within the same army, proved reluctant to communicate with one another during a battle.

Should an infantryman survive the initial advance and meet the enemy, hand-to-hand combat would begin. All types of weapons would be used: bayonets, swords, stones, even feet and teeth for kicking and biting. Rifle butts frequently served as clubs. All troops were trained to rely on their bayonets more than any other weapon.

The cavalries were also part of land battles during the Crimean War. Both the British and the French successfully used cavalry charges against the enemy. They benefited because Russian infantrymen were not instructed on how to defend themselves against enemy cavalry charges. In contrast, Russian dragoons would ride into battle but fought on foot, and the regular Russian cavalry did not demonstrate the iron discipline needed for a successful charge. Things were even more difficult for the Turks the Bashi-Bazouks, although clearly the most superb of the Turkish horsemen, refused to fight against regular cavalry and had to be used to terrorize enemy civilians instead.

Infantry advances and cavalry charges continued to be used during the Siege of Sevastopol but were supplemented with several other tactics as well. Before the soldiers would attack, the Allied armies would pound the city with heavy artillery bombardments and try to tunnel under the Russian fortifications. New long-range rifles meant that sharpshooting emerged as an effective tactic during the Crimean War. Under the cover of darkness, a sniper would crawl toward the enemy lines and dig a foxhole. Then he would wait until daylight revealed a target. Other nighttime activities developed during the Siege of Sevastopol, in which the Russians engaged in nighttime raids on enemy trenches in order to kill sleeping soldiers and capture prisoners who could supply them with information. Indeed, all sides relied on spies to obtain information about the enemy. Suspected spies, however, would be shot if they were captured.

Books and Articles Almond, Ian. “The Crimean War, 1853-6: Muslims on All Sides.” In Two Faiths, One Banner: When Muslims Marched with Christians Across Europe’s Battlegrounds. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009. Baumgart, Winfried. The Crimean War, 1853-1856. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Curtiss, J. S. The Russian Army Under Nicholas I, 1825-1855. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1965. Edgerton, R. Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999. Fletcher, Ian, and Natalia Ishchenko. The Crimean War: AClash of Empires. Staplehurst, Kent, England: Spellmount, 2004. Fuller, W. C., Jr. Strategy and Power in Russia, 1600-1914. New York: Free Press, 1992. Grainger, John D. The First Pacific War: Britain and Russia, 1854-1856. Rochester, N. Y.: Boydell Press, 2008. Griffith, P. Military Thought in the French Army, 1815-51. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1989. Harris, Stephen. British Military Intelligence in the Crimean War, 1854-1856. London: Frank Cass, 1999. Lambert, A. D. The Crimean War: The British Grand Strategy, 1853-56. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1990. Small, Hugh. The Crimean War: Queen Victoria’s War with the Russian Tsars. Stroud, Gloucestershire, England: Tempus, 2007. Sweetman, John. Balaclava, 1854: The Charge of the Light Brigade. Botley, Oxford, England: Osprey, 1990. Reprint. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2005. _______. The Crimean War. Botley, Oxford, England: Osprey, 2001. Thomas, R., and R. Scollins. The Russian Army of the Crimean War, 1854-56. Botley, Oxford, England: Osprey, 1991. Troubetzkoy, Alexis S. ABrief History of the Crimean War: The Causes and Consequences of a Medieval Conflict Fought in a Modern Age. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2006.


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A hardback book 'Battles Of The Crimean War'. Written by W. Baring Pemberton. Consisting of 239 pages, including appendices. The book also includes several black and white plates of copies of original pictures, lithographs and sketches. In good condition.

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1. Road to Perdition: From the Dispute over the Holy Places to the Ultimatum by Britain and France to Russia (1852 - 1854)

The independence of the Ottoman Empire was a vital element of British policy in the 19th century. The British Empire had important commercial interests in this region. It had a unique standing in the Middle East, because after the Convention of Balta Limam in 1838 Britain gained the right to freetrade into the Ottoman Empire. This special relationship grew quickly into political importance. As the historian David Wetzel judges: “Turkey was a good customer, therefore a good friend.” 4

Hence the British Empire looked with serious concern to the so-called “Eastern Crisis” of 1853. The crisis had its roots in 1952 when the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christians had a dispute over the Holy Places 5 in Palestine. 6 The Catholic Church was backed by France under emperor Napoleon III, while the arch-conservative Tsar Nicholas I and his Russian Empire wanted the Ottomans - who owned Palestine by that time - to hand over the keys to of the Holy Places to the Orthodox Christians. 7

The Ottomans did not really care about the trouble between the Chris- tians and they tried to do their best to avoid serious trouble by their usual dodging and procrastination. But strong pressure from France forced them to make a decision about the dispute. 8 After the French broke the Straits Convention of 1841 9 by claiming the permission to sail through the Dardanelles and after threatening the city Tripoli with their fleet the Ottomans decided to hand over the keys to the Catholics. 10 Nicholas I. was outraged: He saw the Treaty of Kutchuk Kainardji of 1774 violated. The treaty guaranteed the religious freedom of the Orthodox Christians in the Ottoman Empire and allowed the Russians to care for them. As David Wetzel states: “The Tsar made the treaty of Kutchuk Kainardji the basis for his demands on Turkey”. 11

The struggle over the Holy Places also stirred up again Nicholas doubts about the capacity of Turkey to survive and keep peace in its own country. The “Eastern Question” 12 was another time on the government agenda of Russia. Nicholas was thinking about dividing the country between the European powers and therefore searching help. He contacted the British Empire but received a negative answer. Lord John Russell, Foreign Minister of Britain, replied to the Tsar in February 1953:

“ In considering this grave question, the first reflection … is that no actual crisis has occurred which renders a solution of this vast European problem. … So that there is no sufficient cause for intimating to the Sultan that he cannot keep peace at home, or preserve friendly rela tions with his neighbours. ” 13

It is obvious, that Britain could not have an interest in destroying the Ottoman Empire. First, it had vital economic interests in the area (see above). Second it had to fear that Russia could occupy too much land in the vast Em- pire and hence come too close to India, the British colony. After solving the “Eastern Question” Russia could become a threat to India. 14 Furthermore Brit- ain did not want Russia to control the Straits, because that would have given the Tsar the power to enter the Mediterranean Sea at any time. Right to this moment he was bound by the Straits Convention. Sidney Herbert, youngest member of the cabinet in Britain, pointed out the British foreign policy to- wards the Straits:

“ We all agreed as to the objects in view. We must have a power at the Bosporus to hold the keys of the Mediterranean from the East. This power cannot be Russia. We cannot allow Russia to encroach upon or to undermine the power which is vital to us there. ” 15

Without help from Britain the Tsar tried to solve the conflict with di- plomacy first. He sent Prince Menshikov to Constantinople to stiffen the claims of the Russians over the Holy Places. But Menshikov’s diplomacy failed. 16 To underline his demands to the Ottoman Empire, the Tsar sent his army in July 1953 to occupy the Danubian Principalities, Wallachia and Mol- davia. 17 But also the diplomatic efforts after these happenings could not stop the road to war. Austria invited the powers to Vienna and tried to find a peace- ful solution: The outcome was the so called Vienna-Note 18 in August 1954 which almost secured peace. But after the intervention of the British Ambas- sador Stratford de Redcliff in Istanbul the Ottoman government changed some parts in the note. For example it excluded the passage mentioning Kutchuk Kainardji. 19

Hence the government in Russia rejected the Vienna Note. That led to a patriotic enthusiasm in Istanbul and the Sultan and his government were determined to throw down the gauntlet: On October 4th 1953 they declared war on Russia. After the so-called “massacre of Sinope” where the Russians wiped out a flotilla of the Ottomans and killed over 3.000 people and another failed diplomatic mission, Britain and France had to react. 20 On February 27th an Anglo-French ultimatum, demanding the evacuation of the principalities, was sent off to St. Petersburg. When the Tsar refused, war was declared on March 27th from France and on March 28th from Britain. 21 On April 10th 1854 the two countries bound themselves to each other to protect Turkey against Russia. According to David Wetzel this was a political event of the first im- portance, the first time in 200 years that Great Britain and France had fought on the same side. 22


Crimean War: 1854 – 1856

It was fought by an alliance of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia. It broke out in October 1853 – although Britain and France only became involved in 1854 – and ended in February 1856.

Why did it break out?

In short, Russia was expanding into the Danube region – Romania today. This was under Turkish control. Therefore, Turkey and Russia went to war in 1853, and the following year Britain and France – fearful of Russian expansion – became involved.

This threatened British commercial and strategic interests in the Middle East and India. France, having provoked the crisis for prestige purposes, used the war to cement an alliance with Britain and to reassert its military power.

Britain and France did not like to see Russia pushing down into the Danube region. They feared Russia would continue pushing down, and eventually come into British India through Afghanistan.

Religious tensions also played a part. Russia made an issue of the fact that the holiest sites in Christianity – Jerusalem, Bethlehem etc – were under Turkish control.

Anglo-French forces secured Istanbul before attacking Russia in the Black Sea, the Baltic, the Arctic, and the Pacific, supported by a maritime blockade. In September 1854 the allies landed in the Crimea.

Where was the war fought?

It was fought on the Crimean peninsula, and also on the Black Sea. It was supposed to play out in the Danubian Principalities (Moldavia and Walachia), but successful Turkish military action and political pressure from Britain, France and Austria forced Russia to withdraw.

The new target for France and Britain became the Russian naval base at Sevastopol – they wanted to destroy Russian naval power in the Black Sea.

There were three main battles: the battle of the Alma on 20 September 1854, the battle of Balaclava on 24 October, and a major Russian attack at the Inkerman, in November.

After the battle of the Alma, the city was besieged by British, French, and later Sardinian troops. The Russians came out in October and November and tried to push the allies back. But these were not decisive, and the siege dragged on until September 1855.

This was trench warfare, with British and French troops trying to push into certain Russian positions. There were heavy casualties. More than 200,000 were killed. That is for all armies, including the Russians.

How did the war come to an end?

In September 1855 the Russians evacuated Sevastopol following the storming of the vital Malakhov bastion by French troops. In short, Russia gave in, and there began a move towards peace talks. The Treaty of Paris was signed on 30 March 1856.

What were the outcomes of the war?

As part of the treaty, the Russian naval base was supposed to have been run down, to reduce Russian power in the Black Sea, but it never happened. Britain and France were soon no longer strong enough to make it happen, and there emerged increasing tensions between them.

But not all of the problems went away. Turkey and Russia went to war once again in 1877, but this time Britain and France stayed out.

There have been suggestions that the Crimean War was one of the first ‘modern’ wars. Is this true?

The Crimean War (1853-56) witnessed the first use of rifled and breech-loading cannon by the British army. Rifled cannon had longer ranges, more penetrating power, and greater accuracy than the old smoothbore, and had a much greater rate of fire.

The most important innovation to Civil War musketry came with the introduction of the conoidal bullet.Shaped like a small egg, it had a hollow “basket” behind the penetrating head. Both range and accuracy increased greatly. During the Civil War a rifled musket could easily kill at 1,000 yards and was deadly accurate at 600 yards.

Near the end of the war the Spencer repeating carbine appeared. This rifle was a .56 caliber repeating firearm with a seven shot capacity.

Probably most important for its impact on military operations was the railroad. Mobility of deployment increased dramatically, as did the means of sustaining large forces in the field over vast distances by supplying them by rail.

The telegraph made it possible for the first time for corps and army level commanders to exercise relative tactical control over their subordinate units. When the telegraph was used in conjunction with the railway, it became possible for units to achieve both tactical and strategic surprise at force levels never witnessed before.

The iron-clad steam powered ship signalled the end of the era of wood and sail, and the regular use of the balloon for military purposes presaged the use to which the early airplane would be put in the next century.

First primitive machine gun, the Gatling Gun was used. The Gatling Gun was capable of a sustained rate of fire of 100 rounds a minute.

We can recognise a number of trends.

There was a level of international alliance – major powers coming together – that we would recognise today. There was also public hysteria to get involved in the war, as in the First World War.

The first war in which you saw letters being sent home, and many of them were published in newspapers.

And didn’t Florence Nightingale rise to fame during the war?

Florence Nightingale heard about the poor medical conditions in the Crimea region, and went there as a civilian to help. She became a big news story. The Crimean War was arguably the first media-driven war.


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Alma Road

Houses date from 1898. Named after Battle of Alma, 20th Sept 1854 in which the British, French and Turkish forces defeated the Russian forces in the first decisive battle of the Crimean War.

Amesbury Road

The houses dates from 1907. Help! The derivation of the street name defeats me. There is a cartoon of a Battle of Amesbury, which would make it fit with nearby streets, but looks like it is fictional? Is it one of the Abbey/Cathedral streets following on from Dorchester, Winchester, Colchester, Melrose Avenue etc? The town of Amesbury used to have an abbey a long time ago. Amesbury Abbey is now name of a large house in Amesbury. More likely the town is named after the Wiltshire town of Amesbury and maybe follows Marlborough Road, another Wiltshire town.

Bottom: cartoon of the Battle of Amesbury by artist Charles Keene who drew for magazines like Punch. Amesbury Abbey – not an abbey at all but just a large house.

Arnside Road

Named after the coastal town in Cumbria. The houses on the west side date from around the 1960s. The houses on the east side were built in the early 2000s on the site of the former Penylan Synagogue itself built in 1955 with a copper domed roof. The foundation stone for the synagogue was laid in Nov 1952 by the Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie, and the building consecrated in Jan 1955. The building was sold in 2003 with the congregation moving to its current premises in Cyncoed Gardens.

Top Rt: Map with Penylan Synagogue (photo credit: old-maps.co.uk). Bottom Left: Arnside, Cumbria, Bottom Rt: Penylan Synagogue (photo credit: Peoples Collection of Wales and Jewish History Association of South Wales (JHASW) )

Baber Close

Built around1991 on what would have been the middle of the hockey pitches in front of Lady Margaret school. It is named after Mr ‘Frankie’ Baber who was Head of Geography (1946-57) and 3rd Master at Howardian school. Francis Thomas Baber was born on 3 Sept 1916 in Abersychan to Thomas Baber, a coal miner, and Mary Ann Baber. He arrived at Howard Gardens in Jan 1946 with the school struggling to make use of the buildings that were remaining after the school was badly bombed in WWII. Frankie Baber obtained an MA in Geography from Aberystwyth University in the late 1940s (whilst a teacher) and was on the staff when the school moved into its new building in Penylan in 1953 and subsequently became known as Howardian.

An old boy wrote of him “One of the ‘giants’, though small in stature, a big voice which came from a big heart in a big personality. I admired him tremendously. He raised his department to undreamed heights of success and did much the same for Hawke House”. Described as being ‘at times aggressive in manner, as so many small men are, miscreants feared the sharp edge of his tongue, but to those who wished to learn or who had troubles of some kind, Frankie was the sole of kindness and a tower of strength’. ‘Many Old Boys now in prominent positions still speak with awe of his triads and with gratitude of his skill and knowledge with which he imparted to them. He was the same in the staff-room, outspoken to a degree but equally ready to stand by a principle or a colleague when occasion demanded’. He left Howardian in 1957 to become geography lecturer Cardiff Teachers Training College. He died in Cardiff in 1989.

Balaclava Road

The road was developed 1898. It is named after the Battle of Balaclava, fought on 25 Oct 1854, in the Crimean War. Captain Godfrey Morgan, who later became Lord Tredegar and the landowner of much of Pen-y-lan was part of the battle’s ill-fated ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’. He was one of only two members of the 17th Lancers to survive the Charge of the Light Brigade after a miscommunication sent them headlong into a wall of Russian cannons. His horse, Sir Briggs, also survived and returned home and when he died was buried at Tredegar House, Newport, where a statue of the horse still stands. A statue of Lord Tredegar riding Sir Briggs stands outside the City Hall in Cardiff.

Barons Court Road

Dates from around 1935. Named after the West London underground station. There were no Barons apparently . Sir William Palliser who built and named the area in London and was thought to have been poking fun at Earls Court. With or without an apostrophe? At the top of the road the sign has an apostrophe at the bottom of the road it doesn’t. The underground station doesn’t if that helps.

Top Rt: Barons Court underground station. Bottom Left: Sir William Palliser.

Birchwood Lane

A right-of-way running through Cardiff University accommodation buildings. Named after the nearby sizable house, Birchwood Grange (still there). The other houses, Craigisla and Shandon were demolished. Shandon was owned by Cardiff shipowner Sir William J Tatem who went on to become Baron Glanely of St Fagans. The nineteen roomed luxury house Craigisla had a number of notable inhabitants including Daniel Radcliffe, a leading Cardiff businessman at the start of the twentieth century. He raised a lot of money for the Scott voyage to the Antarctic, hence Scott made a point of setting sail on the voyage from Cardiff. Birchwood Cottage still fronts onto Birchwood Lane though it looks as if it is probably a rebuild of an earlier cottage. University Hall dates from around the 1960s.

Birchwood Road

Probably dates from around the late 1950s. Named after nearby Birchwood Grange, one of the last large Penylan houses, former home of Sir William Thomas (Baronet Thomas of Ynyshir), Great Western Railways Director. The house became part of Cardiff University in early 1950s and was converted into a male hall of residence.

Blenheim Road

The road dates from 1909. It is probably named after the Battle of Blenheim on 13 Aug 1704 in which the British, led by Duke of Marlborough, and the Austrians/Prussians defeated the French/Bavarians at Blenheim, Germany. It was a major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession. The top the road offers a good view over the centre of Cardiff and the City Hall. It has some coy houses, not all facing the street. Just to add to the coyness it also has Marlborough Road school and Albany Road Baptist original school room and church facing onto it. St Edward church claims to be on Westville Road as does the house opposite, the front door of which opens onto Blenheim Road but has a sign above the door saying Westville. What has poor Blenheim done to be shunned like this?

Bottom: Marlborough Road school, Albany Road Baptist original school room and church.

Boleyn Walk

Dates from 1982. The houses are built in mock-Tudor style on the former Taff Vale railway line, Roath branch. Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII (Tudor) and she ended up getting beheaded. The houses on the other side of Penylan Road are called The Tudors so it appears these are named after Ann Boleyn, one of the Tudors. Her marriage to Henry VIII kicked off the Reformation and dissolution of the monasteries which is kind of ironic considering the nearby St David’s College was built on the site of the former Convent of the Good Shepherd.

Borrowdale Close

Houses built post 1958. Built on former allotments on land owned by Lord Tredegar. Named after Borrowdale in the Lake District, a beautiful valley at the north end of the Lakes, stretching from near Keswick south to the Honister Pass.

Brandreth Road

Dates from late 50s/early 60s. Named after the 715m mountain in the Lake District, north of Great Gable (899m). I can personally recommend staying the night at the isolated Black Sail Youth Hostel for an early morning ascent of Brandreth.

Brandreth Road. Top Right: Brandreth top with Great Gable in the background.

Bronwydd Avenue

Dates from around 1930. Bronwydd meaning wooded hillside in Welsh. It is named after the mansion Bronwydd that once stood between the present A48 Easter Avenue and Yew Tree Court. The mansion was built in 1866, and later lived in by Sir Alfred Thomas, Lord Mayor, Liberal MP and Lord Pontypridd. There are newspaper reports of Lloyd-George having stayed at Bronwydd with Alfred Thomas when he visited Cardiff. Lord Pontypridd died unmarried at the age of 87 in 1927 and Bronwydd and most of his estate was bequeathed to the City of Cardiff. Bronwydd was later owned by Captain J.J.Williams, a land agent to the 4th Marquess of Bute and later again by Prof W.E.Waters. It was demolished around 1970 to make way for the construction of the Eastern Avenue.

Bronwydd Avenue. top rightt: Sir Alfred Thomas – Lord Pontybridd (pic Wikipedia) , lower right: Bronwydd (pic credit: Prof W.E.Waters)


Brian Altonen, MPH, MS

Much of the French Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 are covered in separate sections. The point of this section is to review wars that are reviewed here and there in other sections of this blog, and to add additional interesting items in this section devoted to military medical history.

The importance of the Crimean War is due to its years. It existed during one of those times the U.S. was not too heavily engaged in battles. The Civil War was four to seven years away. The skirmishes along the southern border were ongoing, but none too big to have a major impact on the entire country, enough to pull the American U.S. society out of these years of “peace.” Most importanty, the Crimean War was the first war for which a significant photographic history exists.

Ships in the Sea of Azoz

The Crimean War had sanitation as its primary enemy. Some wars had mostly infectious diseases, fevers, diarrhea and dysentery to contend with most of the time. As the years passed and the weaponry was advanced, certain injuries became more common and the need for surgery was advanced. But when the Crimean War began, we had reached a peak in these concerns for the encampments and the health of potential battlefield militia. The newest concern was the way to care for soldiers injured and in need of highly skilled care, and workers knowledgable in how to keep military hospitals healthy. Such was not the case for the Crimean War, and as a result many people suffered.

Scutari Hospital

But why these problems existed in Crimea is another question altogether. It wasn’t necessarily poor supplies, lack of knowledge and skills that did the soldiers in in the Crimean hospitals. It was first the enormous size of the facilities that were established for providing secondary and tertiary forms of health care that were for the first time testing the ability of the military to manage such an ambitious endeavor. Prior to this, hospitals away from how were rarely as big as they were in Crimea. This is because the numbers of militia living on foreign lands, far away from home, were some of the largest numbers seen for such a battle with the limited international engagement outside the British engagement seen with Crimea.

The reasons for the Crimean war help us understand why this war bore large numbers of militia, but was fairly limited in its political intentions. Great Britain was against the Turks and their allies in this war, a war fed by the establishment of new international trades being developed between leaders of the former Ottoman cultures, western Russia, and still thriving old time British agents.

Another part of the Crimean War history that we often hear so much about was the development of the nursing profession due to this war. The unkept living conditions and sizable but very unsanitary hospitals demonstrated the need for more staff that could be engaged in the maintenance and upkeep of military facilities. The military achieved this task very well by engaging a young lady in this endeavor, who later established the first nursing school in medical history–Florence Nightingale.

the whole concept of women caring for the ill was nothing new to the human race. Nightingale did not invent this skill held most successfully by women rather than men. What Nightingale did was define a fairly innovative, but leadership like way of developing this adjunct clinical service to be provided by women. Nightingale was able to cross the barriers between men’s and women’s roles to some extent in accomplishing such a task. She had to cross such a barrier to get the respect and support she needed from the primarily masculine directed profession of soldiering and military administration.

Still, that touch of femininity in Nightingale’s work did have an effect on the overall mental hygiene of the military profession in general. At times she seemed to symbolize to onlookers that “mothering attitude,” as if to use this to service those most in need of her colleagues’ skills, in care, expression of emotions and concerns, etc. Public relations attempts to prove her success made every effort to make Florence Nightingale appear as feminine as possible when it came to treating and caring, yet as masculine as possible when it came to leading and guiding her workers, and generating her reports for upper commanders.

Symbolic of Florence Nightingales work is that image of her carrying a candle with her as she attend to the patients once more before going she herself went to bed. To some later historians, this is perhaps a true icon of what she was meant to symbolize for the British military in general, but at times some still like to contest the statements that claim she made remarkable changes. There was a certain amount of propagandaish attitudes voiced in the books written about Florence, even during the first months following her initiation of these attempts. But because they were written so early in this part of her discovery of her career, they may be a little biased and exaggerated in their content and intent. The filth of the military hospital setting was certainly in need of change, just how much of this change she perfected is still uncertain.

Nevertheless, knowing these two aspects of the Crimean War history, we can look into its later discussions in more detail and get a better idea on what the main problems were in the battlefield at this time pertaining to medicine.

On another page I have posted quite a few images pertaining to this interesting part of military medical history. For now, suffice it to say that the articles referred to and posted here provide us with more details about the unique medical problems faced by those serving in the Crimean War. Sanitation rules out over all other concerns for the time. Typhoid was the major fever epidemic of this setting, with crowding, climate, humidity and lack of adequate oversight and administration making it possible for some of the worst epidemics to reach such a hospital setting. Due to the size of these hospitals, the numbers of patients in them, and the nature of the illnesses taking hold, the reductions in morale that ensued made it impossible for adequate services to be maintained in such settings.

The following is a brief reiteration of this tale by an American physician who served in the army in Crimea as a physician. Its most important elements: it provides us with insight into the philosophy of disease for this time. Along with big hospitals came more surgeons, and with more surgeons more opportunities for surgery. The chief problem resulting from surgery, infection and gangrene, was the most problematic endemic disease a physician had to face.


Watch the video: The Crimean War 12. Animated History (January 2022).