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Crimean Medal Restored

From the Dorset County Chronicle January 30th 1913


One pleasing issue of the formation of the Dorset National Reserve has been the quickening of the interest and pride taken by the members and the general public in the elderly veterans of famous campaigns who still survive, and who until recently were left in the shadow of sad and shameful neglect. The National Reserve movement with its church parades and business and social gatherings has latterly brought our old hero’s out into the limelight, which, figuratively has kindled with new lustre their hardly-won medals, but too many veterans have, alas to complain that in the course of the years since they first received them, lost, stolen or strayed in the phrases applied to their medals. This was the case with the later Mr Franky Treeves of Broadmayne, armourer mate aboard Commodore Napier’s _____ revenge at the bombardment of Adre(?) in 1840. His grandchildren, one day, tied his coveted medal round the cat’s neck and Penny, in the garden or fields soon diverted herself of the undesired ornament which was never recovered. Such was the same of Private Michael Crate of Lester Court, Mill Street, who enlisting in 1850 in the Bengal fusiliers, in the service of John Company fought at Pegu(?) in the Rangoon campaign in 1852 and was severely wounded at the storming of Delhi in 1857. Recently thanks to the kind interest of Major Stephen Willcock, ex regimental Sergeant Major Sloane,  - the mayor of Dorchester  (Mr Joseph Porter) and several members of the National Reserve who subscribed to the cost. Old Mr Crate was presented with duplicate medals to take the place of those that were stolen from him years ago. Now the same kindly office has been done for ex-trooper Thomas Warr of the 11th Hussars who rode in the charge of the Light Calvary Brigade at Balaclava in October 1854. Warr had the Crimean medal with all four clasps, for Alma, Balaclava, Inkermann and Sebastopel and also the Turkish medal. “I lost ‘em” he told a Dorset County Chronicle representative, when Fooks and Preedy were hung in March sixty-three. Major Willcock was again successful in obtaining from the war office, the re-issue of the lost medal an incidentally corroboration was obtained of Warr’s statement that he rode in the immortal charge. This has been unfairly challenged but has lately been established beyond all doubt that Thomas Warr was numbered among the noble six hundred honoured for all time in Tennyson’s deathless verse. In the regimental journal of the 11th Hussars (The Prince Alberts own) colloquially known as the ‘cherry pickers’ or ‘ cherubims’ Warr’s name and regimental number (1431 or 1481?) are given amongst the list of survivors of the charge of the 11th Hussars 110 besides their gallant leader Lord Cardigan rode into the valley of death, of these only 25 were present at the roll call after the charge, no less than 85 being missing, now it is true Thomas Warr’s name was not among the 25 who answered to the attenuated roll for at the time when it was being called he was slowly and painfully leading his hamstrung horse back from the mouth of hell.



On Thursday at 2.30 a knot of brother veterans, friends and admirers gathered outside Mr Warr’s lodging in the Victoria Park and then paid a call on the old veteran. There were present the mayor (Mr Joseph Porter) who had been invited to make the presentation, the organisers of the Dorchester and Cerne Company of the National Reserve (Major S Willcock and ex RSM R.J. Sloane RGA) ex RSM J.H. Fisher (7th Dragoon Guards “The black horse”) ex private Alfred Wyborn, Rifle Brigade (Wearing the Crimea and Turkish medals) ex shoeing smith Rhodes RHA (wearing the Indian mutiny and Abbysinian medals) ex QSM G.B. Kemp, 1st Battalion Dorset regiment; ex armourer-sergeant  H.R. Smyth, ex sergeant T.R. Higgins and C.B. Crossby and ex Corporal T.H. Rogers, 4th Dorsets (T) and out representative.

Mr Thomas Warr was at home in both senses of the word. Indeed he had never in his life had so many callers at one time. He was discovered in that attitude so characteristic of the Englishman – standing with his back to the fire and with his well coloured clay in his mouth. After hearty greetings had been exchanged Major Willcock explained the object of the visit. The Mayor said that he had a very pleasant duty to perform – to present to Mr Warr, on behalf of the subscribers present and absent, a new medal to replace the medal lost by him just 50 years ago (Hear, Hear). He was glad to find Mr Warr looking so well and enjoying, considering his age, such good health. He hoped that he would live for many years longer to wear the medal on his breast (Applause)

Mr Porter then pinned upon the waistcoat of the veteran, the mint-new medal with its pale blue ribbon and yellow stripe crossed by four bars. Mr Warr expressed his intention to have the medal affixed to his Sunday waistcoat. He then signed a paper bequeathing the medal on his death to his old regiment, who would prize it as a regimental heirloom to be proud of. As he put down the pen ‘old Tom’ as he is affectionately called, observed quietly, the fact of the matter is, when I’m gone, I don’t mind who do have ‘en.

The party then left the house and walked up the road to the front of the Victoria Hotel, of which Ex QMS George Kemp is the proprietor and here, a group was formedandphotographed by Mr Smyth. The seat of honour in the middle was assigned to Mr Warr, supported on the right and left by his two fellow veterans of the Crimea and mutiny. The group were wearing in their buttonholes the badges of the Dorset National Reserves. Mr Smyth succeeded in securing some excellent and interesting pictures.

A pleasant chat followed, in the course of which Thomas Warr, drawing from the cells of memory, told some reminiscences, both entertaining and touching of his experiences in the Crimea. Besides him only four members of his regiment who rode in the charge still survive.

The following was the list of subscribers to ex-Trooper Warr’s medal:- Lieut. –Colonel G. Le M. Gretton, Major B. Willcock, his worship the Mayor of Dorchester (Mr J. Porter), Sergt. Major J. H. Fisher, Sergt.-Major R. J. Sloane, Quartermaster-Sergt. G. B. Kemp, Sergt. C. B. Grassby, Sergt. T. R. Higgins and Corpl. T. H. Rogers


Dorset County Chronicle, Jan 30th 1913
Microfilm of the Dorset County Chronicle 1913 held at the Dorset History Centre


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