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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 October, 2004, 03:38 GMT 04:38 UK
Light Brigade hero is remembered
Cannonballs, Roger Fenton
The valley in 1854 - the Crimean was the first war covered by the media
A hero of the Charge of the Light Brigade is being honoured with a memorial plaque on the 150th anniversary of the Crimean war battle.

Samuel Parkes, of Tamworth, Staffs, received the Victoria Cross after risking his life saving two fellow soldiers during the ill-fated charge.

A memorial service is taking place on Sunday in St Editha's Church.

Hundreds of troops died in the 1854 blunder, which saw 650 cavalry ride into a hail of Russian bullets.

When he was buried, he really slipped into obscurity. Tamworth didn't really know of his existence
Peter Elkin
Descendant
Trooper Parkes was only the second Army recipient to be given the VC.

He risked his life to save a regimental trumpeter and the second-in-command of his regiment, the Queen's Royal Hussars.

Despite surviving the war, he died penniless aged 49 and was buried in an unmarked grave in west London's Great Brompton Cemetery.

His story has been unearthed only recently after painstaking research by his great-great-great nephew, Peter Elkin.

"This is a significant day not only because of he won the VC in the Charge of the Light Brigade, but also because it's the 150th anniversary on Monday," he said.

"Also, when he was buried, he really slipped into obscurity. Tamworth didn't really know of his existence."

The service will be attended by civic dignitaries as well as representatives of the Queen's Royal Hussars and the British Legion.

The plaque will say: "To a man of Tamworth. Baptised in this church and awarded the VC for gallantry in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Samuel Parkes VC. 1815-1864."

This week the National Army Museum is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the charge, as part of a wider exhibition about the Crimean War.


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