Diasporational Part Nine: The Irishman who Witnessed The Charge of the Light Brigade


Seeing as I have made the longlist for the Irish Blog Awards in the Diaspora Category, I’m going to be reposting some of my ‘Diasporational’ stories about historical figures from the Irish Diaspora. Here is the original post I wrote about William Howard Russell, the Tallaght-born reporter for the Times who witnessed the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade

The Fluff Is Raging

William Howard Russell William Howard Russell

By Niall McArdle

It was the site of an infamous cavalry charge that was either an act of supreme bravery or one of sheer stupidity, or both. It inspired a famous poem that is still drilled into schoolchildren. A young woman in London, Florence Nightingale, was so moved upon reading the reports of the wounded that she journeyed to Crimea to set up a pioneer nursing service at the Front.

Balaklava has passed into that odd place in our cultural memory that holds truth and fiction in equal measure. When we think of it at all, we likely think first of Tennyson, second of Florence Nightingale, and, perhaps, after that the details of the battle itself. Like other famous places of conflict  – Troy, Hastings, Waterloo, Gettysburg, Ypres, Bastogne –  it conjures a mixture of history and myth. And we owe much of what we know…

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