Precious Crimean War medals come back home

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A UNIQUE collection of medals honouring the heroism of the last surviving officer of the Charge of the Light Brigade is to find a new home in a South Yorkshire museum.

Tony Kent, a former RAF reconnaissance pilot who moved to the United States in 1946, had considered keeping his great grandfather’s military decorations and personal papers in Virginia.

But fearing the collection of Crimean medals might eventually be split up and sold to US collectors, he has returned to England to hand them over to his ancestor’s regimental museum, Cannon Hall in Barnsley.

Tony’s great-grandfather Captain Percy Shawe-Smith was a lieutenant and acting adjutant in the 13 Light Dragoons, which took part in the infamous charge in 1854.

Shawe-Smith’s regiment suffered devastating casualties but his job was to keep his dragoons moving forward.

He was the only one to bring his original horse back and he was on parade the next day. Only 20 members of the 13 Light Dragoons emerged from the Valley of Death.

There were not enough survivors to sustain the regiment, which was disbanded.

Mr Kent, now in his 80s, said: “I feel very proud to have handed the medals over and I know my great grandfather would be very happy to have everything back home.”