Just, 161 years ago, 156 cavalrymen, officers, serjeants and other ranks died, with a further 122 wounded; through a combination of arrogance, mistaken orders, a long feud between brothers-in-law who happened to be very senior British Army commanders, and the foolish behaviour of Captain Edward Nolan. Nolan could never be questioned about the tragic outcome of the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava; as he was killed by an enemy artillery shell in the first minutes of the abortive charge. The order, from Lord Lucan, stated that Lord Cardigan, the overall cavalry Commander, to use his cavalry to prevent captured naval guns being carried away; saying “Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns. Troop horse artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate.” Unfortunately, Raglan omitted to state which guns were being threatened; Nolan delivered the message without explanation, and only tried to countermand the suicidal charge straight down the valley under the promised point-blank ranged Russian guns set on the valley sides. Nolan rode in front of Cardigan, presumably trying to get his arrogant leader to turn, but a blinkered, arrogant, ruthless Earl Cardigan took no notice of an upstart Captain trying to tell him how to fight a battle, and committed the Light Brigade to disaster, and into history!
Move your mind from Balaclava in the Crimea; transfer your attention to Helmand Province in Afghanistan, adjust the number of now British dead to 453, along with countless more lives destroyed through blast injury, amputation and psychiatric illness; bring into sharper focus the decisions to ‘build a democracy’ in a Country which does not even understand what Democracy means! The sheer lunacy of ignoring the recent history of the Russian bloody invasion and equally bloody retreat, never mind the memories of the ruinous British involvement and meddling within the past two centuries tells me just one thing; and one thing only:-
We just never, ever, learn to mind our own bloody business!