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LIVES OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
The E.J. Boys Archive

Added 3.5.11. Minor edits 2.3.2014.

1499, Private Henry George WICKHAM - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in Bromley, Kent.

He was baptised at Bromley Parish Church on the 30th of November 1834, the son of Michael Wickham, a labourer, and his wife, Sarah. Three other children were born into the family: Thomas, baptised on the 1st of May 1836, Harriet, baptised on the 10th of October 1837, and William, baptised on the 4th of October 1839.

His father became a Police Constable in the Metropolitan Police on the 23rd of March 1840, Warrant No. 16799. He was recommended for this employment by Mr. William Rawlinson, of Bromley, Kent, and Mr. J. Gomas, Churchwarden, "of the same place". He was dismissed from the Police Force (no reason was shown) on the 10th of February 1852.

Enlistment

Enlisted at London on the 29th of October 1852.

Age: 18.

Height: 5' 8".

Trade: None shown.

From Private to Corporal: 20th of November 1859.

Corporal to Sergeant: 17th of May 1864.

Served 12 years. In Turkey and the Crimea: 1 year 10 months.

Conduct: "good".

In possession of two Good Conduct badges. Never tried by Court-martial.

Medals

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

Commemorations

Member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in 1879, and was also a member of the Committee.

Attended the Balaclava Fete at Olympia on the 2nd of July 1890.

Attended the Annual Dinner in 1890.

[Eds: A number of Crimean War veterans from the Army and Navy appeared in the procession for the Lord Mayor's Show that took place on the 9th of November 1890. These survivors travelled in open-topped carriages, which contained four people each, accompanied by the bands of the Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, and the 2nd Life Guards and pipes of the 1st Royal Warwickshire regiment. Eleven such carriages carried men of the Light Brigade under the banners of "Survivors of the Charge at Balaklava" and "Battle of Balaklava Heroes". Notably included at their head were Trumpeters Landfried 17th Lancers and Perkins 11th Hussars. A specially printed programme for this event lists all these men - Wickham is shown travelling in the 16th carriage in the procession.]

A supplementary roll (undated) signed by Major Henry Holden shows him as being issued with the Crimean medal (with clasps for Alma, Balaclava and Inkerman) on the 7th of October 1855.

Life after service

1881 Census

78 [?], Heath Road, Clapham, Surrey.

The 1881 Census shows him as a Car Man, aged 46, born at Bromley, Kent, with his wife, Mary, 46, born at Lewisham, Kent. Three children, aged from 10 years to 1 year, and two lodgers (Brewer's Draymen) are also shown.

Death & burial

Died at No.79 [?] Heath Road, Clapham, London, on the 15th of June 1892.

He was buried in an un-marked grave (number 12587, Square 58) in the South Metropolitan Cemetery, West Norwood, on the 22nd of June 1892. No head-stone was erected. He was one of 13 interments in the same grave space. (This is not now identifiable, but see photograph of the grave-area in the 13th Hussar file.)

Extracts from theSouth Western Star for the 18th and 25th of June 1892:

"Death of a Balaclava Hero - On Wednesday last there died at No. 81 [sic] Heath Road, Clapham, Sergeant George Wickham, who was attached to the 13th Light Dragoons at the time of the Crimean campaign in 1854. He was one of the famous Light Brigade men, and lived to be 57 years of age.

"One of the Six Hundred." - On Wednesday morning the body of Sergeant George Wickham, formerly of the 13th Light Dragoons (now called Hussars) was taken to Norwood and laid to rest where other comrades are sleeping. He died, as the South Western Star reported last Thursday, at No. 79 Heath Road, at the age of 57. His father was at one time in the Police force here, and the deceased was at one time in the Railway workshops at Hampton. Ordered out to the Crimea at the time of the Russian War, he was one of the gallant "Six Hundred" who rode in the Charge and where he received a severe lance wound, which for the last two months had been troubling him. He left the Army on the expiration of twelve years service. At the petition of the Patriotic Fund he was allowed £60 in three instalments and in August of 1890 he received the first £20. The widow is left entirely un-provided for. - Who will help her. - We are sure that Major Christie of Elmwood Road, had good words for the deceased..."

See copies of photographs of him - one in uniform as a young man, and the other in later life - in the 13th Hussars file.


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