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The E.J. Boys Archive

Added 3.5.2011. Minor edits 2.3.14, 30.3.15. US newspaper report added 29.11.15.


1641, Private Thomas YATES — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born at Lanarkshire, Scotland.


Enlisted at Glasgow on the 21st of August 1854.

Age: 24 years 5 months.

Height: 5' 6".

Trade: Weaver.

Appearance: Fresh complexion. Hazel eyes. Fair hair.


Joined the regiment in the Crimea on the 13th of August 1855.

He is shown on a Nominal Roll dated the 9th of November 1855, as being On Duty at Scutari from the 4th of November 1855.

From this he did not serve in Eupatoria with the regiment.

From Private to Corporal, 6th of February 1856.

On the 19th of May 1856, reduced to Private by a Regimental Court-martial for "being drunk on guard".

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Dublin on the 17th of October 1856:

"Unfit for further service. This man has lost a joint of the index finger of the right hand — the result of an amputation rendered necessary by a wound inflicted on himself accidentally whilst chopping wood with his sword. He was sober at the time and engaged in sharpening a tent-peg. The Regiment was then encamped near Balaclava.

His ability of earning a livelihood and his trade (that of a weaver), is impaired, but not destroyed. When the accident happened he was on duty — strictly so-called — as it was necessary to secure the tent. But no doubt his own clumsiness caused the accident."

Served 2 years 56 days. In the Crimea: 1 year.

Conduct: "good". Not in possession of any Good Conduct badges.

Aged 26 years 6 months on discharge.

To live in Glasgow.

Granted a pension of 6d. per day for one year. A letter in his documents refers to an application for a "Campaign pension" dated the 13th of December 1893. Refused — not having ten years service.


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasp for Sebastopol and the Turkish medal.


Life after service

Death & burial

From The Broad Arrow, 27th of May 1905:

"According to the 'Pittsburgh Dispatch', Thomas Yates, the only American who is known to have taken part in the Charge of the Light Brigade, died the other day at Toledo, Ohio, aged 83 [sic].

Mr Yates was a member of the 13th Light Dragoons (now Hussars) a squadron of which rode in the foremost ranks of the Brigade during the charge and only nine men of the squadron survived the slaughter. He escaped with two slight sabre-wounds in the left arm and later, whilst doing picket duty, a stray Russian bullet carried away his right fore-finger."

EJB: This could be 1641 Thomas Yates. Although there is a difference of eight years in age at death, the statement about a lost right forefinger would correspond with the reason for his discharge.

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