One of the exhibition’s most intriguing pieces has been installed this afternoon – the damaged coatee worn by Sergeant Frederick Peake during the Charge of the Light Brigade.
This famous charge of British cavalry against Russian forces during the Battle of Balaclava (25 October 1854) saw the destruction of more than 475 horses.
Under the command of Major General the Earl of Cardigan, Sergeant Peake was one of the lucky men who survived the 673-man charge, narrowly escaping with a severely broken arm.
The last survivor of his regiment, Peake enlisted into the 13th Light Dragoons at the age of 18. Following the Charge of the Light Brigade, he was posted back to London as an invalid and was later discharged from the Army.
His short, close-fitting dark blue coat (the colour worn by light cavalry at the time) was damaged by a canister shot roughly the size of a snooker ball. Peake treasured this uniform, despite the perforated sleeve, and would often wear it with pride to charitable events.