1st June 2004




The bugle used to sound The Charge of the Light Brigade 150 years ago has been conserved by the University of Lincoln and will be presented to the Queen’s Royal Lancers today Tuesday (1st June).


The antique copper instrument was badly damaged on the battlefield at Balaklava during the Crimean War but Chris Robinson, senior technician in Conservation and Restoration at the Lincoln School of Art and Design, has spent the last few weeks conserving and preparing the bugle for anniversary celebrations later this year.


Carried by Trumpeter William ‘Billy’ Brittain, the bugle was first to be sounded that fateful day of October 25th 1854 and was slung around Billy’s shoulder as he rode towards the Russian cannon along with 600 men from the 17th Lancers.


During the battle Billy was seriously wounded and taken to Scutari Hospital where he was nursed by Florence Nightingale. Despite having the best of care, paid for by Lord Cardigan, Billy Brittain died of his wounds.


The bugle also received considerable battlefield damage including a large tear around the trumpet and several dents.


“The bugle is in a shocking state really,” said Chris. “It’s split, the metal’s torn, it’s twisted and it’s been repaired at some time in the past with an epoxy adhesive. 


“There was also a lot of dirt and polish residue and the copper is fragile from endless polishing.


“Visually it doesn’t look massively different because I haven’t done any restoration, I’ve just conserved what’s there to make sure it stay’s together.


“I’ve removed old repairs, strengthened some of the weaker pieces of it and removed the crust of polish residue which had built up in all the places where the polishing cloth wouldn’t reach.”


At 12.15pm, Professor Vincent Shacklock, Dean of the Faculty, will present the bugle to Captain Mick Holtby, curator of the Queen’s Royal Lancers Museum, at the School’s Chad Varah House in Lincoln where the work has been carried out.


Captain Holtby will return the bugle to the Queen’s Royal Lancers Museum at Belvoir Castle where it will take pride of place at their forthcoming exhibition to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Charge of the Light Brigade.


The exhibition will run from 16th June to 25th October when the bugle will be taken to the North Field at Balaklava where a bugler will, once again, sound the charge.


For further information about the exhibition please visit www.qrl.uk.com or telephone Captain Mick Holtby on 01159 573295.


For more information contact:

Gill Noakes, Assistant Press Officer

01522 886244                                  gnoakes@lincoln.ac.uk

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