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Year 8 are studying The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson and Theo Drainville-Saul has produced this fabulous piece of writing.

Mrs Loane- English Teacher

Letter from Crimea-The Battle of Balaclava

“Dearest mother,

Two days ago, I witnessed a terrible massacre of a battle. My closest friends and colleagues died horrible deaths; mercilessly slain by the treacherous Russian enemy.

Six hundred noble soldiers, members of our proud cavalry, including myself, formed strict ranks; all on horseback. The harshly familiar bugle sounded, for probably the final time, and we began a swift and graceful canter towards the valley of death.

However, nothing was graceful about what happened after that. I squinted into the distance, and could clearly make out the site of dreadfully impressing cannons and a vast Russian army in the place where most of us were destined to die. We all knew that this battle would probably be our last. And then we charged.

I watched my friends getting ferociously cut down by the Russian soldiers, and the wounded falling, bellowing in agony, then groaning, and then being utterly silent. I felt like collapsing in a desperate, depressing heap and praying that one of my favourite friends were not going to die. I didn’t actually do it, but when I glanced to the left I saw that one particular friend that I had in mind; falling off his horse, seemingly in slow motion, with a cannon ball mercilessly slamming into his chest, and, to my great despair, coming out the other side of his body; leaving a hole big enough to fit five fists. I looked away, realizing that I couldn’t take the horrors of war. What I needed to do was to charge in there, slay the Russians, and probably die in doing so.

Our officers said that it was brave and noble to die for one’s country; and now I saw that that was a lie. I realized this because I almost died twenty-seven times during that battle. I kept on slaying Russians, and the Russians kept on breaking my soul. It seemed that was the way all battles worked. It went on like that for about an hour. Finally, the bugle sounded for a retreat. All British members of the light brigade attempted this retreat, sparing some of our lives in doing so. Nearly everything about the retreat had gone well so far.

I was practically dizzy from relief, so to my great shame, I wasn’t as alert as I should have been after the battle. This was because it had been so horrible, and so long. I should have anticipated that this would happen, and I could not warn my colleagues now, for it was to late… Because of this, I will never forgive myself! Quickly, after we had started to retreat, I noticed a little too lately that a Russian officer was commanding his troops. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, because of the roar of the ongoing battle, but I didn’t like it. I locked my eyes with our officer, and a brief moment of understanding and mental communication passed between us. His face paled. He turned, and was about to give the order of flattening ourselves against the ground, when a deafening boom shook the valley. Our somewhat organized troops rapidly dispersed, creating chaos within our once proud ranks. We all tried to dash away, and anybody unfortunate enough to fall off his horse brutally got trampled by the wild stampede of terrified horses and men. Several more explosions shook the valley, followed by the rapid crackle of discharge from the cruel Russian soldiers. I didn’t dare look back, even though I probably should have done, in order to dodge ammunition, for fear that one of them might single me out.

Finally we got out of range, and we began to trot back towards our makeshift stables. When we dismounted, we looked at each other, checking for casualties. We had many stables, and many groups at each stable, at least, before the battle we did. Our particular group used to have twenty-five. Now we only had five. Our minds were so exhausted, and our souls so broken after the battle that just counting ourselves and forming words seemed like a hopeless challenge. When I looked around for one of my friends that I had previously made in my group and found out that he wasn’t here, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I then collapsed onto the ground and cried.

With fondest love, Theo”

 

    

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