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.