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Crimean War Hero Medals Come Home

Friday October 7 2011


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THE great-grandson of a soldier decorated for gallantry in the Charge of the Light Brigade has travelled from America to donate his relative's Crimean War medals to a regimental museum at Barnsley.

Tony Kent and his wife Patricia formally presented the medals awarded to Captain Percy Shawe Smith of the 13th Light Dragoons, who served in the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856.

The collection, comprising the Crimean Medal with clasps, the Turkish Medal, the Sardinian Medal and the Order of the Medjidie, was formally accepted by Brigadier Allan Mallinson, past commanding officer of 13/18 Royal Hussars and a trustee of the regimental museum of the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) and the Light Dragoons at Cannon Hall Museum.

Tony said: "I know they will be in great hands and I know my great-grandfather would be very happy they have found this permanent home. I decided they had got to go home. We live a long way away and it was time for them to go home. It means a great deal to me that my great-grandfather's collection is here where it belongs - with his regiment, and he served gallantly with them."

Mr Kent, who is in his late eighties, flew to the UK from Virginia, to present the medals and military papers which had been passed down through his family. Mr Kent served in the RAF during World War II, and moved to the United States in 1946, becoming a noted broadcast journalist, based mainly in California.

He added: "I decided 18 months ago it was the right thing to present my great-grandfather's medals to the regimental museum. I want to thank the regiment for looking after us. It has been a fantastic opportunity for us and I could not be more pleased."

Captain Percy Shawe SmithPercy Shawe Smith joined the 13th Light Dragoons in Ireland in 1847 as an 18-year-old junior officer. With his regiment he set sail for the Crimea on 12 May 1854. As a result of a shooting accident in earlier life, he wore a metal guard on his right hand for combat. But on the morning of the Charge of the Light Brigade he had been unable to find it.

As Acting Adjutant and without thought of his own safety, he rode in the charge unarmed, cheering on his men and leading them through the Russian guns. He sustained only a slight wound and his horse was one of only two that came through completely unscathed.

He was awarded the Crimean Medal with clasps for Alma, Inkerman, Balaklava and Sebastopol; the Turkish Medal, the Sardinian Medal and the Order of the Medjidie (5th Class).

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