War Horse of the Crimean War. A war largely remembered for the Charge of the Light Brigade, a hopeless but gallant British cavalry charge against a heavily defended Russian force. A blunderous order issued by the high command, ordered James Thomas Brudenell, 7th earl of Cardigan, a British general, to lead a disastrous cavalry charge at Balaclava (located Black Sea Crimean Peninsula) astride a thoroughbred chestnut steed with white stockings on the near hind and fore feet with the name Ronald. The purpose was to recapture British cannons from Russian forces. Through a mile-long valley, The Light Brigade advanced taking heavy losses from the fortified Russian troops entrenched on both sides, finally reaching the guns, however, forced to retreat because of their diminished ranks. Cardigan and his horse Ronald, returned unscathed, the General impeccably dressed with a knitted vest he wore to protect himself from the severe Russian winter. The cardigan was born, the vest was later named after him by the British in honor of his courageous but foolish act of leadership. The result...673 men charged forward, 195 returned fit for further service with their mounts, 113 had been killed, 247 were wounded while 475 horses were killed, many outright and the wounded shot as an humanitarian gesture. The credentials of Lord Cardigan are very pretentious as he achieved his desire to play soldier with a high rank by extensive use of the "sale of commissions system" in place in Britain at that time. Because of his wealth, he was able to purchase rank and proceed up the ladder...Lieutenant, Captain, Major and Lieutenant-Colonel. A mere bump in the road occurred when he was forced to resign for incompetence but reappeared by purchase of a general's rank taking command of the ill-fated Hussars. The cost of commissions put up by Cardigan when far beyond...Brudenell would spend thousands of dollars on procuring horses, their maintenance, servants, uniforms and entertaining. This is the origin of Ronald, one of many ordinary war horses in his command, randomly selected before the battle to be the conveyance for Cardigan. The equine somehow miraculously survived unscathed then taken back to England where he lived the good life, dying of old age while outliving the General. His carcass was dismembered and parts interred in various places of honor. Both Cardigan and Ronald were immortalized by British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson after he composed "The Charge of the Light Brigade" resulting in the man and animal receiving legendary fame in British military folklore. The poem today is studied by both American and English literary students, also by myself years ago while still able to recite the entire work from memory. "Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death, Rode the six hundred, Forward, the Light Brigade, Charge for the guns, he said; Into the valley of Death." (bio by: Donald Greyfield)
Burial: Deene Park Deene East Northamptonshire Borough Northamptonshire, England Plot: Deene Park is a centuries old sprawling Georgian mansion which was the residence of the 7th Earl, who led the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava. In the Staircase Hall, many mementoes are kept, including the tail and a hoof of Ronald. His mounted head is in a glass case.
Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Aug 11, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 11656