James Alexander Mustard
Survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade
1830 - 1916
On the morning of the 25th we were standing to our horses… the hour had nearly come when, at all costs, we had to advance to the Russians and retake the cannons they had captured… All I know is that we started off under Lord Cardigan, first at the trot, then at the canter and finally at a mad gallop in which horses and men were wedged together in one great mass. The 17th Lancers led the way on the left, and I was in the front rank. It was hell. Cannon belched forth shot and shell all round us and I saw many a comrade fall, but I got through all right. Then we turned. We came back in extended order, but the ride was just as awful, just as maddening. This time I was not so fortunate. I got a canister shot in my left side that cut my belt and sent my sword rattling to the ground. I kept my saddle, and pulled up with the rest.
Returns to Twickenham
He returned to England, but in 1857 his regiment was sent out to India to assist with the suppression of the Mutiny. Promoted Corporal, he took part in various engagements, including the siege of Delhi. He was discharged in 1864 and came to live in Orleans Road, Twickenham with his wife Sarah Jane. There were four sons and two daughters of the union. Here he worked as a tailor, a trade which perhaps he had learnt from his father. The family moved later to Turks Road (now Winchester Road), St Margarets, where he died on 4 February 1916, the last surviving 17th Lancer from the Charge.
St Margarets Community website: sgmgrts.org.uk/archives/2008