Frequently Asked Questions
There is a long-standing, privately run Crimean War discussion group at groups.io. It is free, but you need to apply to join. It is here: Crimean War Group at groups.io.
Where answers to questions contain links to one or more sites with searchable databases indication is given by the following:
Q1: When did the Crimean War take place?
1853-1856. British and French involvement dates from 28th March, 1854, and the formal treaty of peace came into effect 1st April, 1856, hence you will sometimes see the war referred to as "the Crimean War of 1854-56". ▲
Q2: Who were the belligerents in the Crimean War? ▲
Q3: Where was the Crimean War fought?
Around the Black Sea, but particularly on the Crimean peninsular, in Asia Minor and the Danubian states. Also in the Baltic Sea, the White Sea and on Russia's Pacific coast. [Regions linked to Google Maps] ▲
Q4: What were the main battles of the Crimean War?
Q5: Which British Army regiments served in the Crimean War? ▲
This list used to show the current designations of the regiments, with abbreviated 1856 designations in brackets. However, this had become increasing complicated and out of date. In an effort to make it easier to understand for everybody, it has beeen changed around.
Now, the original Crimean War period title of the regiment, with abbreviation, is shown first, followed by the modern title of the unit into which the identity of the regiment has been absorbed – often through multiple amalgamations over the years. The old title has a hyperlink to the Wikipedia page for that regiment; the abbreviation, inside [HAL: ] square brackets, links to the relevant page in the Jan 1855 Hart's Army List at Google Books; and the modern title, inside [Now: ] square brackets, links to the page at the MOD site for the latest incarnation of the regiment. Of course this means that the modern link is the same in many cases, but we hope that this layout makes more sense in these days of so–called 'Super' regiments.
The following abbreviations have been used: D=Dragoons; DG=Dragoon Guards; L=Lancers; H=Hussars; SFG=Scots Fusilier Guards; F=Foot; RB=Rifle Brigade. The Divisional organisation is correct as at 1st April, 1856. All Divisions also had Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, and Royal Sappers and Miners attached. Three Crimean regiments have not been perpetuated in the modern British Army; they were the 18th Foot, 88th Foot, and 90th Foot. Therefore in the list below they only have the first two links.
Cavalry Division ▲
First Division ▲
Second Division ▲
Third Division ▲
Fourth Division ▲
Highland Division ▲
Light Division ▲
Q6: Did X win the Victoria Cross (VC) in the Crimean War?
See the list of recipients at the Victoria Cross pages, now at Wikipedia. ▲
Q7: Did X win the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) in the Crimean War?
See "Recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1855-1909" by P. E. Abbott. ▲
Q8: Did X win the French Légion d'honneur in the Crimean War?
For British recipients, see the London Gazette, issues of 4th August, 1856 and 1st May, 1857. [These links go to the first relevant pages at the London Gazette online. Click on the blue 'next' nav button to see subsequent pages.] A list of those whose names appeared in the former was published in "Chambers' Pictorial History of the Russian War", anon. [George Dodd], London and Edinburgh, 1856. Surviving citations for 4th Division recipients can be found in “La Légion d'honneur” (Second Edition) by Michael Hargreave Mawson, privately published, 2000. For French recipients, see Base Léonore at www.culture.gouv.fr/documentation/leonore/pres.htm ▲
Q9: Did X win the French Médaille Militaire in the Crimean War?
A complete list of British recipients, together with citations for the award, was published in "Medals of the British Army" by Thomas Carter, London, 1861, and more recently reprinted (without citations) in "British Battles and Medals" by Joslin, Lithland and Simpkin, London, 1988. Also, please see CWRS Special Publication No.6, British Soldiers awarded the Médaille Militaire for service in the Crimea. 400 British Soldiers and their deeds described in reprints of the original citations. By Tony Margrave. ▲
Q10: Did X win the Turkish Order of the Mejedie (aka Medjidie, Mejidieh etc) in the Crimean War?
See the London Gazette, 2nd March, 1858, for the Army, and 3rd April, 1858 for the Royal Navy. [These links go to the first relevant pages at the London Gazette online. Click on the blue 'next' nav button to see subsequent pages.] ▲
Q11: Did X win the Sardinian Al Valore Militare in the Crimean War?
A complete list of British recipients, together with citations for the award, was published in "Medals of the British Army" by Thomas Carter, London, 1861, and more recently reprinted (without citations) in "British Battles and Medals" by Joslin, Lithland and Simpkin, London, 1988. Also, please see CWRS Special Publication No.3 Officers & Men of the British Army, Royal Navy & Royal Marines awarded the Sardinian Medaglia al Valore Militare for service in Crimea. By Tony Margrave. ▲
Q12: How can I find out if X was awarded the Crimea Medal?
The Medal Rolls are held on microfilm at the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), Ruskin Avenue, Kew, under reference WO100 (Army) and ADM171 (Royal Navy and Royal Marines). You will need to know X's regiment or ship before being able to search for his name. The rolls of some regiments have been published, and there is a project to compile a comprehensive roll. A CD has been published with the Royal Navy and Royal Marine rolls for the Baltic and Crimea, which is available from various online shops. Use this Let Me Google That For You link to search for an up–to–the–minute good source: LMGTFY. If you are a member at Ancestry.co.uk, or know a member who can help, you can now search both army and navy recipients online. ▲
Q13: How can I find out if X was awarded the Turkish Crimea Medal?
Few medal rolls for this award have survived. If X was an officer who was entitled to the Crimea Medal, and survived until 1858, the award of the Turkish Crimea Medal will be mentioned in Hart's Army Lists from about 1859. If X was not an officer, and survived until 1858, you may conclude that he probably received the Turkish Crimea Medal. If X did not survive until 1858, the odds are that the medal was never awarded. (The same applies to officers and men of the Royal Navy, substituting the Navy Lists for Harts Army Lists.) ▲
Q14: How can I find out if X served in the Army in the Crimean War?
Unless he was an officer, you will need to know his regiment before confirming Crimean service. If this information is available, then you can check to see whether Discharge Papers exist at the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office), Ruskin Avenue, Kew, in class WO97. These records were created on a soldier's discharge to pension, and therefore do not cover every individual who served in the Crimea. If you know that X died in service, or if WO97 papers are not found, you can check the Medal Rolls (also at the PRO) in class WO100. The medal rolls will confirm that he saw active service in the Crimea. For fuller details, you can check the Muster Rolls and Pay Lists in WO12. For officers, the simplest way of answering the question is to look them up by name in the indexes of the appropriate Hart's Army Lists. Their entries (from the 1855 edition onwards) contain details of services. ▲
Q15: How can I find out if X served in the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War?
There is no definitive list of those who served in the Charge. The most credible published source used to be "Honour the Light Brigade" by Lummis and Wynn, published by Hayward's in 1973. Lawrence W. Crider has published a great work In Search of the Light Brigade: A Biographical Dictionary of the Members of the Five Original Regiments of the Light Brigade from Jan 1, 1854 to Mar 31, 1856 which builds and improves on Lummis and Wynn. However, it is believed to be only available in the secondhand marketplace at the moment.
There is also Lives of the Light Brigade: The E.J. Boys Archive online. It is a regularly updated and refined database of the names of all the men who served in the Light Brigade. ▲
Q16: How can I find out if X served in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines in the Crimean War?
It helps to know what ship he was serving in. If he was an RN or RM officer above the rank of Midshipman, then his name will appear in the Navy Lists against the name of his ship. Most of the relevant Navy Lists are available online 'full view' at Google Books. (Check our Google Books Links Page where we have some of them listed). For RN petty officers and ratings, and RM NCOs and privates the ships' musters and paybooks and individual's service records should be consulted. They are all held in the ADM section at the National Archives (formerly the PRO). This is the relevant 'start' page at the National Archives' Catalogue. The medal rolls for RN and RM are also held at the National Archives (not online), but are published online at Ancestry.co.uk — but you need to pay a subscription.
However, the National Archives have been making more and more documents available online. The following are searchable, but to view individual records you must buy as PDF downloads:
Q17: How can I find out if X was killed or wounded in the Crimean War?
The first place to look is the London Gazette. Most casualties were recorded there and then published in the pages of The Times and The Scotsman &c. However these casualty rolls were extracted from the London Gazettes of the period and first published in book form by Cook & Cook. They are mostly second-hand details of battle casualties (not disease) and are not renowned for accuracy, however they are a good starting point. Kevin Asplin has posted them at his site, adding a few details taken from musters and Depot books and changed the rolls from Regimental order to Surname order. Search his site here. ▲
Q18: My g-g-grandmother was a nurse with Florence Nightingale, how do I find out more?
The Nurses Register for the Crimean period is held at the Florence Nightingale Museum, St Thomas's Hospital, London. ▲
Q19: What are some good books to read as an introduction to the Crimean War?
Here are just four of many that we recommend:
Q20: What are some good books regarding badges and uniforms of the Crimean War? ▲
Q21: What are some good books regarding the small arms of the Crimean War? ▲
Q22: What are some good books regarding the ordnance of the Crimean War? ▲