The Crimea War
The Crimea War was fought on the Southern Crimean coast of Ukraine 1854 1856
- The British, French and Turkish armies joined forces to stop the Imperial Russian Army from Conquering the crumbling Turkish Empire.
- If the Russians conquered Turkey then they would control the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and of particular importance to Britain, the route to British India.
- This was a war, which, after forty years of peace, Britain was unprepared for. The British commander, Lord Raglan, was himself ill-prepared, having seen no active service since Waterloo.
We remember it for a number of reasons, amongst them, the gallant but hopeless, Charge of The Light Brigade, the hard fought battles of Balaclava and Inkerman (look out for children born at this time given the name Inkerman) and the care given by Florence Nightingale and her nurses at the Scutari hospital.
- Despite fierce battles and hard won victories, in which the British troops fought with gallant bravery, the Russian troops put up considerable resistance and as time went on, ground conditions worsened.
- The situation became desperate for the troops as the Russian winter took hold and rapidly uncovered the layers of incompetence in the British command.
- Shortages of fuel, shelter, food, clothes and medical supplies resulted in the death of more soldiers than in the battles themselves.
The telegraph system some ten years earlier, meant that war correspondents could relay their despatches rapidly to the British public, whose support for the war was diminishing as tales of the appalling conditions reached them in their homes.
- The war ended only when Russia agreed to a peace deal with Turkey, recognizing their independence and agreeing to the neutrality of the Black Sea (agreements later reneged upon).
- The conditions suffered by troops in the Crimean War brought about a change in attitude to how the British Army was being run and to the conditions of individual soldiers, see our theme of Major Events to see how other wars brought about change
- Wars such as the Crimean, helped hasten reform in other areas of society, look at posts on individual reformers or browse posts in People and Personalilies
- Follow the link for a resume of the Crimean War