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Added 14.9.2011. Minor edits 10.4.14, 2.6.14, 8.2.15. Portrait added 19.2.15. Cutting added 22.7.2016.

 Portrait of William GARLAND, 17th Lancers, closeup of large seated photograph in the EJBA. Click to enlarge.

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954, Sergeant William GARLAND — 17th Lancers

Birth & early life

Born at Hereford on the 17th of March 1828, the son of Richard Garland, an Excise Officer, and his wife, Elizabeth.

Richard Garland, born 1786, was base-born [illegitimate], the child of Mary Garland, a daughter of Levi Garland and his wife Mary. His family had lived in Yarlington, a small village close to Wincanton, Somerset, at least since 1700.

1841 Census

Heath, Old Swinford, Worcs.

Richard Garland, 56, Ex[cise] Officer.

Eliz[abeth] Garland, 50.

Jono [John?] Garland, 20, Painter.

Caroline Garland, 15.

Geo[rge] Garland, 15, Painter.

Will[iam] Garland, 10, b. Worcs.

Clara Garland, 8.

Jane Garland, 4, b.Worcs.

Others born outside of the county.


Death registered

Richard Garland [father], December Quarter 1842, Walsall.


Enlisted at London on the 15th of February 1847.

Age 17 years 11 months.

Height: 5' 7".

Trade: None shown.


From Private to Corporal: 25th of April 1851.

Corporal to Sergeant: 24th of May 1854.

Horse shot under him during the Charge at Balaclava.

Letters from Sergeant William Garland to his brother, Rev. Richard Garland, Curate of St Paul's, Warrington. A letter from Godfrey Morgan to his father, also dated 27th October, was published at the same time.

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Camp, Balaklava, Sebastopol

October 27 [1854]

My Dear Brother,

Thank God, I am spared to write, for I can assure you that I had little hope when at the charge on the 25th, in which a large number of the Light Brigade of Cavalry was lost, killed, wounded, or disabled, that I should come out alive. And I may safely say that there were not twenty men of the 17th Lancers that did not receive some injury, or lost their horses, had them wounded, or some part of their appointments carried away by shell or shot; and there were very few that went from one end to the tother [sic] that got off so safe as myself. I only had my lance broken close to my knee, the broken part of it striking against the saddle flap, the grape shot passing through, and rubbing against the horse's rib bones, and he is now unfit for work.

Our Colonel having been sent onboard ship after the battle of Alma, Major Willet had command until the 22d ult., when he had a sudden attack of Cholera, brought on by being exposed the whole night before while on out-laying picquet duty with the remainder of the cavalry, and he died after about twelve hours' sickness. After this, Captain Morris came off Lord Raglan's staff and took command of the regiment, but his command lasted only a short time, for he got severely wounded on the head, and but little hopes were entertained of his re-covery [sic]. However, I hear he is better this morning.


Captain White, the next senior, got a severe wound through the flesh of his leg, and had his horse shot. Captain Winter is missing; he may have been slightly wounded by grape, but not severely, for I saw him half a mile past the enemy's guns, all right; but his horse came into camp without him, very much cut up, and he is still missing. Captain Welsh has lost his leg below the knee, and is doing well. Lieutenant Thompson was shot dead. Lieutenant Sir William Gordon has several lance and sabre wounds, but fought and kept his saddle out of the charge, and rode down to the hospital.

The only officers that charged and came back all right, were Captain Morgan, Cornet Wombwell, and Colonel [sic, Cornet] Cleveland; the remainder were sick, or not in the charge, except Lieutenant and Adjutant Chadwick, whose horse was shot in several places, and he was afterwards taken prisoner. Of all the non-commissioned officers, we only lost Sergeant Talbot — shot dead — and three Corporals Hall, Paget, and Wrigley. About forty men dead and missing, and about thirty wounded.

I have only had half-an-hours notice of post, which is now up; therefore I must conclude by telling you that we advanced with the 4th Light Dragoons, 8th Hussars, 11th Hussars and 13th Light Dragoons, to chase about twelve guns and eight squadrons of cavalry. We had not got more than half a mile, when some more guns which we had not seen, opened, and we found ourselves under the fire of about thirty — all 9-pound guns and 24-pound howitzers, with double lines of cavalry, the whole of which we put to the route.

[Source: this transcript from Anthony Dawson, Letters from the Light Brigade: The British Cavalry in the Crimean War, Pen and Sword, 2014, pp.136-7. Find and check against other versions: The Morning Chronicle footnote says the letter first appeared in the Warrington Guardian. See also the 'The Light Cavalry Charge on the 25th of October', John Bull (18 November 1854), p.734. It also appeared as 'The 17th Lancers at Balaklava', The Lancester Gazette (25 November 1854), and in a slightly different form as 'Letter from Balaklava', The Era (26 November 1854).]

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Camp, Balaklava,

Dec. 20 [1854]

My Dear ____

When I wrote my last I think we were lying near Balaklava. Soon after, the Light Brigade was removed to within a mile of Inkermann-Hill, and about 2 to 3 miles from Sebastopol.

On the 5th of November, being a very foggy morning, we heard some firing in the direction of Balaklava, and remained in the saddle for about half-an-hour; we then dismounted, fled to the lines, and remained bridled and saddled, and ready to turn out at a moment's notice, when all at one we heard a very sharp file firing from the same direction.

Soon after, a quantity of wounded were carried past to the different hospitals to get their wounds dressed, and it was then that we first heard what was going on that the Russians had made a feint upon Balaklava and a real attack upon Inkermann, and had on the latter place concentrated all their force, and with the aid of their shipping, which did their work admirably, were throwing shot and shell of heavy weight right over the hill into the centre of the 4th Division.

Their infantry advanced in heavy columns, right to the top of the hill, upon which was a strong entrenchment and wall — in endeavouring to scale [,] which hundreds fell at the point of the bayonet. At the flank of this wall we had some guns of a field battery — I cannot tell how many — but about and before them the Russians (the English having been carried away) were lying in masses next morning. The guns were taken and retaken several times, and it was at one of these takings that we were ordered to the front to support about 500 or 600 Chasseurs [d'Afrique], and when we got under fire in good range were halted and ordered to sit at ease. At this particular time a nice 8-inch shell would come near each of your heads, or perhaps over or against yourself or horse, with the intervals filled up with a few round shot from 9 to 24lbs.

We remained thus about twenty minutes, when they thought fit to retire about a mile. The 17th Lancers lost a very fine young officer named Cleaveland [sic, Clevland/Cleveland], one man killed and another lost an arm; several horses suffered. Sergeant-Major Duncan had a horse shot dead again. Several lances were shot away, and


all the other regiments lost more or less; I cannot say how many. However we could not get another "go in," and so were obliged to be content for a time. I went up next morning to see what had been done, and the ground was literally covered with dead men, wounded Russians and horses, principally artillery. There were burying parties out, and strong picquets some miles in advance of this, counting the dead, collecting the wounded, and so on. The reports I daresay you have already read in the 'papers. Sergeant-Major Fennel died of cholera about Nov. 15; he was gazetted quartermaster, but had not the pleasure of seeing his name in print then.

Our horses have suffered very much on account of the late severe weather, and the want of forage while so far away from Balaklava. We could not get it up on account of the bad roads and loss of baggage animals. In five days the horses got 4lbs. of oats, and not forage or anything else; at the same time it was bitterly cold and wet. Certainly they did not do much work, because they could not.

After this they brought us down to Balaklava, where they got as much or more than they could eat. A few could not rally, but most of them are now picking up very much, and they have also a set of clothing for the winter. The men have all had a good thick woollen Guernsey and one of socks served out, and are to have one pair of woollen drawers each, and I believe some high serviceable winter boots — all at the expense of the government.

The cavalry is principally engaged in finding outlying pickets and conveying rations up to the infantry in front, which latter they are obliged to do on account of the non-arrival of baggage animals. They (the Infantry) have been lately constructing some new batteries, mounting very heavy guns, and it is said have pushed their trenches within 100 yards of Sebastopol. But things in general are going on so quietly, and with so little noise, except from the reports of cannon, and they cause so little excitement in camp, that no one knows anything, and it would be impossible to say when the siege is likely to be over. There is one thing I forgot to mention, and that is that all vegetables received by the army will be free of cost; it is rather an uncertain issue, but when it does come it is very acceptable.

We are to be augmented to two troops, viz., 150 men and 120 horses. It is not known whether the men and horses will come out ready formed in England, or whether the men and horses will come out to be formed here, and this is a question that puts the whole of us in fidgets. I duly received the newspapers and letters addressed to me.

PS. We are to commence cutting out stabling on the side of a hill, which will be covered over with boards. The ground is marked out, but we have not got men to do it — nor can we have them until we can get struck off some of our present duties.

[Source: quoted in Dawson, Letters, pp.165-6. Check against original: 'Letter from the Crimea', Daily News, originally published in the Warrington Guardian.]

Promoted to Regimental Sergeant-Major on the 1st of January 1855.

Commissioned as Quartermaster, vice O'Hara, on the 18th of April 1856.

Death registered

William O. Garland [son], aged 4, June Quarter 1866, Melksham.

Embarked for India from Cork aboard the SS Great Britain, 8th of October 1857.

His batman was 804 John Duff, 17th Lancers.

The muster rolls for the period July-September 1858 show no particular service movement.

In action against the rebels at Zeerapore on the 29th of December 1858 and at Baroda on the 1st of January 1859.

He was on medical sick leave in India from the 1st of July 1863, his leave expiring on the 16th of October.

However, he did not rejoin the Regimental H.Q. until the 16th of January 1864, and he died at Secunderabad on the 5th of February 1864.


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, and Sebastopol, and the Turkish medal.

Mutiny medal without clasp.

Further detailed medal information archived.


Life after service

Death & burial

The India Office records show him as dying from "Hepatitis" at Secunderabad on the 5th of February 1864, aged 33 years 10 months. He was buried on the same day by the Revd. George English, Chaplain.

He was buried in the Parade Ground Cemetery at Secunderabad. In 1939 a tomb erected to him was still there and the inscription was said to read:

"Sacred to the memory of William Garland, Colonel [Quartermaster, see below] her Majesty's 17th Lancers, who departed this life at Secunderabad on the 9th of February 1864, aged 54 years."

There are discrepancies here in the date of death, rank and age. Both the muster roll and the India Office records show him as having died on the 5th of February, the latter also stating that he was 33 years and 10 months of age. The recording of the inscription appeared in a book on monumental inscriptions in the area and could have been wrongly copied. [PB: So could "died aged 54" actually be 34?]

In 1986, while on a visit to India, Mr Roy Barwick, a descendant of 1480 George Garnham, 13th Light Dragoons found and photographed William Garland's gravestone. (See copy in the 17th Lancer's file, and is that which has the naming whitened). It is now known that the rank shown is that of Quarter-master, and not Colonel.

Further information

In 1970 Mr. Phillip Garland, of Glen Iris, Victoria, Australia, met an ex-officer of the 17th/21st Lancers in Australia. The conversation turned to his relationship to William Garland — who, he said, was his great-great-uncle. Some while previously, while on a trip to England, he had been able to purchase the medals of William Garland for the family at an auction. (See previous notes.) Knowing but little of his service record he wrote to the then Regimental Secretary. The letter was passed on [to EJB] and full information was sent.

From information sent in return it would appear that his father was Richard Garland, an Excise Officer, who died at Walsall on the 31st of October 1842 from "Typhus fever" at the age of 57 years. His address was given at that tine as Montrath [presumably Mountrath] Street, Walsall Foreign.

The Census for 1841 does not show him as such, but there was a Charles Hamilton, an Excise Officer, aged 20 years, living there, and Richard Garland may well have had something to do with him later.

His age at death [57] would have made his year of birth circa 1785.

In this connection the Customs and Excise Registers (dated the 24th of May 1816) show another Richard Garland as an "Officer of Sarum Ride, Sarum Collection, to be now Officer of the Farnham Division". He was promoted to Examiner on the 20th of June 1820. When he died on the 6th of March 1822 he described himself in his will as "Richard Garland, Late of Red Cross Street, Hugh Street, in the County of Guildford, and now of Farnham, Surrey, Officer of Excise". His will was brief: he left everything to his wife, Elizabeth. Could he have been William Garland's grandfather?

The same date (4th of May 1816) [PB: ?] shows a "Richard Garland — To be Supernumerary in the Sarum Collection."

William Garland's father was born [c. 1785] in Hereford, an only child, and married Elizabeth Margaret Jones, of Welsh origin.

The entries in the Customs and Excise Registers give further details of this Richard Garland's movements — and appear to help to explain the birth places of his children.

30th of April 1817. Richard Garland — Supernumerary in the Sarum Collection to be Officer in the Wallingford, 2nd Ride, Reading Collection, at his own request.

A son, Richard, was born in Berkshire on the 16th of July 1818 and died at Warrington, Lancs., on the 25th of September 1891.

Richard Garland [brother]

Trained as a lawyer, he was later admitted to Holy Orders. From the Ecclesiastical Records:

Revd. Richard Garland, of Berkshire. Admitted to Corpus Christie College, Cambridge, June 29th 1849 — matriculated, Michaelmas, 1849. L.L.D. 1889. Ordained Deacon, 1853 and Priest in 1854. Curate of St. Paul's, Warrington, 1854-59, St. Mary's, Sheffield, 1859-60, King's Hill, Wednesbury, 1861-64, St. John's, Darlington, 18--, St. John's, Sunderland, 1865-72 and Vicar of St. Peter's, Congleton. Cheshire, 1878-81.

The Rev. Richard Garland, LL.B., of Corpus College, Cambridge, Mr. Lowe's next curate, and who is now vicar of St. Peter's, Congleton, was a fluent ex tempore preacher, and had a ready power of speech, which he had acquired in his previous profession of the law.

[Source: William Beaumont, Warrington Church Notes etc, Warrington, 1878, which can be viewed online at https://archive.org/stream/warringtonchurc00beamgoog/warringtonchurc00beamgoog (accessed 19.2.2015).]

6th of July 1820. Richard Garland — To be Officer at Gloucester, 6th Division, Gloucester Collection.

Two more children were possibly born in Gloucester: Caroline Elizabeth, who died aged 20, on the 11th of February 1842, and George, born on the 18th of November 1822.

6th of October 1825. Richard Garland — To be Officer of Upton, 1st Division, Worcester Collection.

25th of March 1830. Richard Garland — To be Officer of Hereford, 1st Division, Hereford Collection.

William Garland was born at Hereford and so, presumably, was his sister Clara [born c.1833], who died on the 17th of June 1891, aged 58 years.

13th of June 1836. Richard Garland — To be Officer of Hereford, 1st Division, Stourbridge Collection.

The last daughter, Jane Rosa, may have been born here [c.1837].

12th of May 1841. Richard Garland — To be Officer of Hereford, 1st Division, Lichfield Collection.

17th of November 1842. Richard Garland — Dead.

Richard Garland's wife, Elizabeth, died on the 24th of April 1860, aged 70 years.

Another son, John, came between George and William, but it is not known where he was born. He also became an Excise Officer and may have taken over at Walsall from his father. (He was not shown as being present at his death) The Excise Records refer to a "J" Garland in 1843, but do not state where he was stationed. In 1879 his widow was living at 47, High Street, Southampton.

The daughters, Clara and Jane Rosa, ran a school for girls at Bank House, Warrington, Lancs., next door to Bank Hall — now Warrington Town Hall. There are records in Warrington of them living with their brother, the Revd. Richard, and running a school there in the 1850s. Following the death of Clara in 1891 Jane Rosa sold the school and lived out the rest of her days (she died on the 3rd of April 1897, aged 60 years) at 3, Hugh [Henry?] Street, Warrington.

There is a family grave in St. Paul's churchyard at Warrington which shows the full names of all but one of William Garland's brothers and sisters and both of his parents. Although William Garland's date of death in India agrees with that on the stone, family information in Australia believes that he was buried at Agra in India. This is most unlikely in view of the fact that Secunderabad, where he died, and Agra are some way apart and the burial records show him as being buried on the same day as he died.

William Garland 17th Lancers in civilian clothes. Click to enlarge.

William Garland 17th Lancers in civilian clothes [unknown date].

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See a photograph of him dressed as an officer, and also one in civilian clothes, in the 17th Lancer file. He also appears in a group photograph of a number of 17th Lancer officers said to have been taken in 1856. (See copy in the 17th Lancer Officers' file.)

Another photograph sent from Australia purports to show him (in uniform, and wearing a frock-coat, white trousers, and pill-box hat) standing by the side of a large tomb or monument. Although the photographer's business name on it is Parkinson, Sankey Street, Warrington, Lancs. it is not of the family grave there, that being a flat stone. No indication can be gained from the photograph as for whom — or for what purpose — the stone was erected, but the impression given is that it is more likely to have been in Secunderabad (the regiment being there from 1860 to 1865), the appearance of the memorial and the background being more like that of an Indian cemetery and the picture being copied, perhaps to give to different family members, in this country.

Photograph believed to be of William Garland in India Click to enlarge.

Photograph believed to be of William Garland in India (possibly Secunderabad) in the early 1860s. See commentary for more information.

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Further research into the Indian photograph confirms that the firm of James Parkinson was in business at 45, Sankey Street, Warrington, as a fancy goods, stationer and photographer, in 1887, and the original, most probably as a glass negative, was brought back to England by his widow. (See copy of this in the 17th Lancer file.)

The chance sighting of a photograph taken at the Secunderabad Parade Ground Cemetery in 1995 shows what seems to be the same memorial, but taken from a different angle. Further photographs and information received from those familiar with the area however reveals that in the various Secunderabad cemeteries there are a number of similar memorials and that "it would be impossible to identify any particular one without knowing its specific location."

References & acknowledgements

Additional death registrations kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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