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Charge of the Light Brigade
The Glanister connection
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The Charge of the Light Brigade was one of the most colourful events in British military history, taking place in 1853 during the Crimean War

Read about James Glanister, a trooper in the 11th Hussars, and his involvement.

The Glanister origin
The Glanister variation seems to be particularly prevalent in the northern parts of England, as Joyce Culling, who is especially interested in this name, points out. This article sheds some light on a particularly interesting Glanister. Joyce notes that every instance of Glanister she has found can be connected and is never a misspelling of Glenister.

Joyce traces her own line back to an 18th century estate family in Northamptonshire. Her research indicates that a William Glanister married in 1785, lived and died there, as did his family, but two of his grandsons, Henry and James, moved to Liverpool during the 1840s. All Glanisters registered in Liverpool and West Derby from this time on are related to these two. They married two sisters and James served in the Crimean War at Balaclava (see below).

Joyce has found no instances of Gl-a/e-nister in the area before this time, nor any Glenister in the Northamptonshire registers, very few Glanisters for that matter, and all those that were there were from the same family.

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About the charge
The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean War was the most momentous day in the history of British Cavalry. One soldier who served in this historic charge was James Glanister, mentioned above.

The story of the famous charge was told from the point of view of a local historian in "The Way to Glory" by James W Bancroft, published in 1988 by Neil Richardson, 375 Chorley Road, Swinton, Manchester ISBN 1 85216 024 1. The following notes are from the introduction:

While doing research for a book about the battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War, I came upon an article in the Manchester Evening News about a show which had been performed at the Free Trade Hall on 21st May 1890, to raise funds for the survivors of the famous Charge of the Light Brigade who were living in the north of England. The entertainment was provided by the Hulme Committee and the Court Amateur Players and raised nearly two hundred pounds. The names of seventeen beneficiaries appearing on the stage were reported: 17th Lancers: Sergeant-Major Nunnerley, Sergeant-Major Williams, Sergeant Butler, Corporal Marshall and Troopers Holland, Pearson and Wright. 11th Hussars: Sergeant Brown and Troopers Glanister, Jamieson and Richardson. 8th Hussars: Sergeant O'Donoghue and Troopers Hogan, McCausland, Mortimer and Palframan. 4th Light Dragoons: Trooper Palin.

I was intrigued by these men and the feasibility of their having local connections, so I embarked on a project to try to find out more about them. Some of my researches proved fruitless, but most of them were fascinating and led me to yet more of the region who went "into the jaws of death"

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About James Glanister
James Glanister was born in Finedon, near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, in March 1833 and was a shoemaker prior to enlistment into the 5th Dragoons at Liverpool on 3rd June 1852. He was 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. He transferred to the 11th Hussars at Dublin on 31st October 1852.

1564 Private Glenister got through to the guns at Balaclava but while fighting there, he struck a Russian on the helmet with his sabre and the blade snapped off at the hilt. A Cossack then fired his pistol at him and the bullet hit him in the face, shattering his mouth and lower jaw. He fell forward on his rolled cloak, dangerously wounded. The Cossack rode off and Private Martin assisted him. After being invalided home, he was presented before Queen Victoria at Brompton Barracks on 3rd March 1855, and was discharged on 3rd April as unfit for further service. He received a medal for Crimea (clasps: Alma, Balaclava, Sebastopol) and a Distinguished Conduct Medal. He settled in Liverpool.

He was present at the First Balaclava Banquet, was a member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society and attended the Annual Dinners in 1893 and 1895 in Birmingham. He died at 3 Apple Terrace, West Derby, Liverpool 12 on 22nd March 1901, aged 68, and he was buried in West Derby Cemetery on 27th March (C of E section 5, grave 193); there is no memorial stone. He had received help from the T H Roberts Fund, which also paid his funeral expenses. A notice of his death appeared in the Liverpool Echo on the day of his funeral. His Crimea Medal was sold at Spink & Son in 1913.

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About James' family
Among those listed in the indexes of births, marriages, and deaths at the General Register Office is one Inkerman Glanister; his birth was registered in Manchester in June 1871, and his death at the age of 71 was registered in Ashton in September 1942.

I thought Inkerman was an unusual name, and recognised another Crimean connection. Inkerman is a town in the Crimea, close to Sebastopol harbour, and was the site of a major battle in 1854.

As Inkerman Glanister was born some 27 after the battle, I wondered why his parents gave him such an unusual name. Perhaps he was somehow related to James Glanister?

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