Crimean War Naval Brigade Inkermann and Attack on the Quarries 7th June 1855 Casualty pair awarded to Boatswain’s Mate Richard Bailey, Royal Navy, who saw service aboard the 10 gun frigate Arrogant in 1849 under Captain Robert Fitzroy, the former captain of the Beagle during the South American voyage of Charles Darwin. During the Crimean War he was present ashore with the Naval Brigade detachment of Bluejackets from the 92 gun warship London, and was present during the first bombardment of Sebastopol on 17th October 1854, and at the Battle of Inkermann on 5th November 1854. Promoted from 2nd Captain of the Main Top to Boatswain’s Mate in February 1855, he was subsequently severely wounded in action during the successful attack on The Quarries on 7th June 1855, when the men of the Naval Brigade manned no less than fifty-six guns to the bombardment of the Great Redan, he being most probably wounded due to counter-battery fire. Only a relatively small number of sailors and marines, all from the ships London, Niger, Rodney and Wasp, who would subsequently receive an officially impressed Crimea Medal.
Crimea Medal 1854-1856, 2 Clasps: Inkermann, Sebastopol, officially impressed naming; (RD. BAILEY. BOATSN.’S. MATE.); Turkish Crimea Medal 1855, British issue, unnamed as issued.
Condition: slight edge bruise to first at 4 o’clock, Good Very Fine.
Richard Bailey was born on 8th May 1828 in Sandwich, Kent, and joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class with Victory at Portsmouth from 16th July 1843, he was advanced to Boy 1st Class on 27th February 1844. Posted to the 12 gun brig Daring from 12th September 1844, he then almost immediately transferred to the 110 gun warship Queen from 27th September 1844, she being the flagship of Vice-Admiral John Chambers White at Sheerness.
Bailey transferred to the 110 gun warship Trafalgar from 1st February 1845, she having replaced the Queen as flagship of Vice-Admiral White, and still stationed at Sheerness forming part of the 1845 Experimental Squadron. Bailey was rated as an Ordinary Seaman aboard her on 23rd October 1845, and was then with Trafalgar when she formed part of the 1846 Experiment Squadron. Bailey was hospitalised at Melville Hospital from 19th March to 18th April 1846, when he rejoined Trafalgar, and was rated as an Able Seaman aboard her on 8th May 1846. Bailey then saw service aboard Trafalgar in 1847 with the Channel squadron and Sir William Parker's squadron at Lisbon, and in October 1847 moved to the Mediterranean. Bailey was paid off her on 30th June 1848.
Bailey then joined the 10 gun frigate Arrogant from 14th March 1849, she being captain by Captain Robert Fitzroy, who in 1831 to 1836 had risen to fame for his command of the Beagle during her voyage around the coast of South America when Charles Darwin had been aboard. Under Fitzroy, Bailey saw service at Portsmouth and at Lisbon as part of the Channel Squadron before being taken off her and admitted to Haslar Hospital on 2nd October 1849. Bailey next joined the 50 gun frigate Leander from 3rd October 1849, and saw service with the Squadron of Evolution on particular service, under Captain Sidney Colpoys Dacre. Bailey was paid off her on 13th October 1852 at Portsmouth.
Bailey joined the 120 gun warship Neptune from 12th January 1853, when stationed at Portsmouth, and having volunteered for ‘continuous service’ on 1st July 1853 for a period of 7 years, then transferred to the 92 gun warship London from 27th October 1853, being advance to Leading Seaman on 12th March 1854, and to 2nd Captain of the Main Top on 19th June 1854, this being equivalent to a Petty Officer 2nd Class.
As such Bailey saw service aboard London during the Crimean War, and would have been present at the first bombardment of Sebastopol on 17th October 1854, at which time he was serving ashore with the Royal Naval Brigade, manning the siege guns bombarding the city from the land.
Bailey was then present in the Battle of Inkermann on 5th November 1854, which was the second major Russian attack to break the besieging forces around Sebastopol. Some 600 sailors actually took part in the fighting at Inkermann, whilst others kept the naval guns in action from their existing positions like Gordon’s and Chapman’s batteries, firing into the fog at the advancing Russian columns. One of the batteries, the one commanded by Acting Lieutenant William Hewett, comprising three 68-pounders and a Lancaster, was assailed and hand-to-hand fighting ensued. In a famous incident, five of Hewetts’s sailors stood on their own parapet and fired into the attacking Russians, whilst their comrades handed up freshly loaded weapons taken from dead soldiers; two of this gallant group were killed, but the other three lived to receive the Victoria Cross. The major contribution of the Naval Brigade actually during the fighting was to help defend threatened strongpoints or redoubts. It was initially drawn up in reserve behind the notorious Sandbag Battery - ‘the abattoir’ as it was nicknamed, which was lost and recaptured many times during intense fighting that day and the scene of terrible slaughter. At one stage, sailors engaged in the fighting there to support the Grenadier Guards and companies of marines were similarly drawn into the action, some serving alongside the Light Division and helping to stem the Russian advance along Kareening Ravine.
Bailey remained on service ashore with the Naval Brigade, and was promoted to Boatswain’s Mate on 27th February 1855, this being the equivalent of a Petty Officer 1st Class. Present for the second major bombardment of Sebastopol on 9th April 1855, this was not a success, but on 7th June 1855 he then found himself involved in the successful assault on The Quarries during the first offensive against the Great Redan, in which the Naval Brigade manned no fewer then fifty-six guns, and the allied forces gained ground in their advance of the parallels, the entrenched positions built to put pressure on the Great Redan. It was during this successful attack that Bailey was severely wounded on 7th June 1855, most probably as a result of counter-battery fire. He is listed as a casualty in the London Gazette for 19th June 1855. The severity of the wounds are no doubt the reason for his being discharged from London on 10th October 1855, and he does not appear to have seen any further naval service.
Bailey was subsequently awarded one of a relatively small number of officially impressed Crimea Medals to men of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Slightly less than 2000 impressed medals were given to the crews of the London, Niger, Rodney and Wasp, four of the five ships that had left the war zone early. The majority of Crimea Medal’s to the Royal Navy were issued unnamed in an order placed with the Royal Mint from the Admiralty in mid November 1855, in order to be dispatched to the Crimea where there war was still ongoing. Of the five ships that had left early, it was deemed that they would have their medals presented to them on arrival in England, with the fifth ship, namely Albion, having its medals specifically engraved by Hunt and Roskell. Of the 743 medals issued to the crew of London, 100 men gained the medals with both clasps Inkermann and Sebastopol, and it is noted in an article published in the OMSA Journal in January 2018, that about 100 officially impressed medals to London are known, hence a survival rate of 13.5%.