With Remembrance Day very much in people’s thoughts, a Reading Buses engineer has been commemorating an historic record in his family’s history.
For Jason Robinson’s great great great grandfather fought in – and survived – the Charge of the Light Brigade.
It was very recently the 166th anniversary of the Battle of Balaclava in which Jason’s ancestor John Burton fought.
So Remembrance Sunday in lockdown was especially poignant for Jason who said today: “It still seems surreal to have an ancestor who was a war hero.”
In a family history sent to Reading Buses HR Director Caroline Anscombe, he has included pictures of John Burton’s medals and his grave as well as a eulogy he gave at the service of remembrance two years’ ago on the day and exact time the Charge took place.
“After I spent five years trying to find his grave, the ceremony took place with the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, other dignitaries as well as officers and men of the Kings Royal Hussars Regiment.
“A trumpeter also played the Cavalry version of the Last Post,” said Jason who has worked for Reading Buses for 20 months.
“We still own his medals.”
John Burton was born in Kettering in 1810 and worked as a farm labourer prior to enlisting in 1830.
Private John Burton, as he was known in the army, went on to serve for 25 years, seven of which were spent in India. He was also one of the soldiers who escorted Prince Albert to the Royal wedding of Queen Victoria. For this Prince Albert made the 11th Hussars his own regiment.
He was at the Battle of Balaclava which was led by the 7th Earl of Cardigan. It was a battle made famous in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem the ‘ Charge of the Light Brigade’. He was also at the battle of the Inkerman and the first siege of Sebastopol.
After the battle of Balaclava,” said Jason who lives in Aldershot, “John and 71 other men were given a compulsory medical discharge. He was sent to Scutari in February 1855 for invaliding home.
“He was discharged at Chatham in May 1855 aged 45 years – the oldest private in the regiment – having completed 25 years of service and was granted a £5 gratuity and a pension of 1 1/2d per day.”
Added Jason: “He was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, the Turkish Medal and the Crimean War Medal.
“John was a man who became forgotten until now. If it wasn’t for still owning his Crimean War Medal and an interest in our family history, we wouldn’t be standing here today.
“On behalf of myself and all my family, this is our tribute to the finest forces in the world.
“We especially like to thank everyone who has come along today to celebrate and to remember our ancestor and to give back his identity to what would have been a forgotten Victorian grave.”