The Charge of the Light Brigade

On a recent visit to St George’s Chapel, some Australian relatives of the late Captain John Attkins Pickworth asked Chapel staff whether there might be any information about their ancestor at Windsor, knowing that he had close connections with the Castle and town and wondering whether he might be buried at St George’s.  The Archives and Chapter Library retrieved some biographical notes about him (SGC M.870/59) and were able to provide more details about this intriguing and honourable former Military Knight of Windsor. Born on March 18th 1822 in Windsor to William Pickworth who had enlisted into the Royal Horse Guards at Windsor Barracks, John enlisted into the 15th Hussars in London on April 1st 1840 at the age of eighteen.  It is mentioned that he was transferred that December to the 8th Hussars.  He embarked for Crimea aboard the H. T. ‘Medora’ on April 27th 1854 and also served in India three years later, where he was promoted to Regimental Sergeant Major in 1857.

It is fascinating to find out that he was one of the six hundred gallant soldiers of the Light Brigade Charge at Balaclava. Indeed, John Attkins Pickworth was entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol and was also awarded the French War medal, as well as the Indian Mutiny medal for service in Central India. His record of Officer’s services shows that John had been recommended by the Commanding Officer for the Victoria Cross, because of his distinguished conduct during the Light Brigade Charge at Balaclava. In April 1879, he was given the rank of Honorary Captain. John was then appointed a Military Knight of Windsor after his retirement.  John outlived his wife Margaret, whom he married in 1868, by four years.  He died on 22nd February 1901 at Windsor Castle where he had lived at 18 Lower Ward.  Although his funeral service was held at St George’s Chapel, he was buried with his wife in the Windsor Town Cemetery.  Family papers of John Attkins Pickworth are now in the Regimental Museum of the 4th/8th Hussars.  Prompted by his relatives’ search for information here, we have become engrossed in the remarkable and significant life of Captain John Attkins Pickworth.

Charlie Lowry-Corry (Archives volunteer)

The King's Free Chapel. The Chapel of the Most Honourable and Noble Order of the Garter. The Chapel of the College of St George.