The regiment celebrated Alma Day on 20 September each year.
During The Crimean War, as the British and French were marching on the naval base at Sevastopol 27 miles away, they encountered the Russian army positioned on the far side of the River Alma.
When the British line was drawn up, the Light Division, which was composed of specially selected troops, was deployed in front. The enemy’s fire was therefore concentrated chiefly on this division as they crossed the Alma and made their way through the vineyard, up the slopes south of the Alma.
The regiment’s objective was one of the most important points in the Russian position. It was known as the Great Redoubt, and consisted of a large, strongly fortified earthwork which contained a battery of 14 guns.
As they approached the Redoubt, the 19th Foot (as the regiment were known at that time) were counter-attacked, but, with the assistance of the Grenadier Guards, this counter-attack was overcome. The image above shows a group of officers who were present at the battle. It was taken on the Heights of Sevastopol by Roger Fenton in June 1855 and is the first photograph ever taken of members of the regiment.
The regiment pressed on and fought their way into the Redoubt.
It was here that seven Russian drums of the Vladimir, Minsk and Borodino Regiments were captured.
The regiment had suffered 238 casualties – an eighth of the total British losses. The Russians withdrew towards Sevastapol.
It was during The Crimean War that the first of the regiment’s 18 Victoria Crosses were awarded.
The bravery of Corporal John Lyons and Private Samuel Evans during the summer of 1855 was recognised with the honour, which was devised following the conflict to recognise gallantry in the face of the enemy. You can find out more about them in our Medal Room.