Many of our volunteers are continuing to help the museum by working from home.
In the first in a series of features about our fabulous band of volunteers, and how they are determined to support us through difficult times, Paul Goad gives an insight into his work.
“When I volunteered at the museum to help with their medal research project I had only a superficial knowledge of the Crimean conflict.
Volunteering has led me to develop a keen interest in the campaign; the events in the Holy Land that led up to the conflict, why it happened and how an understanding of the reasons behind the war help us better understand the troubled region today. I also feel I’ve got to know many of the individual soldiers who fought with the regiment and suffered a great hardships during the conflict.
The National Archives hold service records for many Crimean veterans including a significant number of soldiers whose medals are on display in the museum’s Medal Room. Each service record holds a myriad of personal details.
To date I have been able to research more than twenty fascinating individuals such as Leonard Currie who went on to fight on the Union side in the American Civil War and Cornishman Henry Strick who was released from military prison just two days before the regiment set sail for the Crimea.
Another soldier, Edwin Davis went on to become the Landlord of The Jolly Fisherman pub in Hastings, which still thrives today.
Perhaps the most poignant life I have researched is that of 14 year old Drummer Benjamin Carpenter. He survived the hard fought Crimean battles of the Alma and Inkerman, only to die the following winter of cholera. It was a fate that many of his ill-equipped comrades also suffered.
You can see some of the Crimean medals that I and my fellow volunteers have researched on the museum’s Medal Collection pages.
While we are all staying at home I will continue to volunteer and research our Crimean medals. It is something I really enjoy and makes the days fly by.”
You can see the regiment’s colours – the flags they carried into battle – from the Crimean, as well as the only surviving complete soldier’s uniform and kit from the period, on display at the museum when we reopen.
A bit about the Crimean War
The Crimean War was a military conflict fought from October 1853 to February 1856 in which the Russian Empire lost to an alliance made up of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia.
When you think of this conflict, perhaps you think of the heroic, but suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava which was immortalised by the poet Tennyson, or perhaps ‘the lady with the lamp’, Florence Nightingale who pioneered modern British nursing during the war.
Other facts about the Crimean War that may be new to you might be that Leo Tolstoy served on the Russian side as a young officer and started his literary career with the authoring of ‘The Sebastopol Sketches’.
The Crimean was also the first war in which public opinion was able to sway political action. The advent of the telegraph relayed daily news reports and photographs, giving the public immediate access to developments on the battlefield.
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Your support is much appreciated.