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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 15:49 GMT
Charge survivor's medals sold
Edwin Hughes aka Balaclava Ned
Edwin Hughes aka Balaclava Ned is wearing the medals
The medals belonging to the oldest survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade have sold at auction in London for 16,000.

Wrexham-born Edwin Hughes, otherwise known as 'Balaclava Ned', died in Blackpool in 1927 aged 96.

He was one of the "Gallant 600" who rode in the fateful charge in the Crimean War in 1854, which led to deaths of 272 British soldiers.

It is believed a member of his family from Wrexham bought the three medals.

Wrexham Museum had been hoping to buy the campaign medals. Its curator Joanne Nerie said they are now hoping they can borrow them to put on display.

The campaign medals had been put up for sale by Mr Hughes' descendants and had expected to fetch 15,000.

He's a famous son of the town and we're keen to acquire the medals
Joanne Nerie, Wrexham Museum

On 25 October 1854 Troop Sergeant-Major Edwin Hughes rode in the Charge of the Light Brigade, at the Battle of Balaclava.

Hughes was injured and his horse was shot from under him as British forces mounted an attack on the Russian artillery which led to the deaths of 272 of the 673 British soldiers.

However, he survived and continued to serve in the Crimean campaign until being discharged in 1873.

From then on he was known as Balaclava Ned.

According to press interviews he gave in later life he said that following the attack he was "damaged about the face and left leg but not seriously".

"We just did our duty without any thought of glory, and, of course, as in all wars many of our lot paid the supreme price."

Edwin Hughes' medals
The medals exceeded the 15,000 guide price

Apart from two old photographs, the town's museum has no other memorabilia relating to him in its displays.

Before the auction on Wednesday, curator Joanne Nerie said: "He's a famous son of the town and we're keen to acquire the medals," she said.

The museum had secured a grant from the Victoria and Albert Museum towards the cost of buying the medals.

A plaque was unveiled in honour of Hughes at his birthplace in Mount Street, Wrexham 15 years ago.

There has been fierce historical debate about who was to blame for the suicidal attack against the Russian army, with cavalry commander Lord Lucan appearing to misinterpret an order issued by Lord Raglan.

The infamous charge was immortalised in a Tennyson poem and later in a film.


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