The Durham Light Infantry Tribute - John Attle - Gallery 5

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Gallery No 5 - The DLI Inkerman Day November 5th 2006


The Battle of Inkerman 1854




Inkerman Day - 5 November
The Durham Light Infantry
(68th/106th Regiments of Foot)

During the Crimean War against the Russians an outstanding action took place shortly after the Battle of Balaclava. During the night of the 4th November great movement was heard as the Russians assembled at the foot of the heights held by the allied British and French armies, the Russians outnumbered the allies by 5 to 1. As first light came on a cold, wet and misty morning Sir George Cathcart prepared to assault down the rocky face against the Russians. 16 Officers, 15 sergeants, 14 buglers and 198 rank and file of the 68th Durham Light Infantry marched forward in their grey greatcoats ready for the attack. As Sir George Cathcart rode in behind them the Durhams threw off their greatcoats so that they could fight the better and get at their ammunition - they were the only troops that day to fight in their red coats. The charge was sounded and down the hill the Durhams charged - their red coats attracting heavy fire from the Russian artillery.

Sir George Cathcart was killed and two Brigadiers severely wounded, the Durhams were reduced to half their strength. The remaining Durhams pressed on, relying on the bayonet. The massed 'Yakutsk' regiment of the Russians wavered and, when struck by the impetuous charge of the Durhams turned and fled the field of battle. Ever since this feat of gallantry the WOs and Sjts continued to wear the Inkerman chain and whistle as an honour which has been passed down to the WOs and Sjts of the Light Infantry of today.

This heroic action questioned by Historians as to the soundness of Sir George Cathcart's orders, is paralleled with that of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava.

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