The 34th joined the army in the Crimea later than most, landing on the 9th December 1854. They had to suffer terrible hardship during the winter months around Sevastopol and lost many of their number as a result of ill health, and in battle. In the Russian Sortie of 22nd March 1855 they played a prominent part. Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Denis Kelly narrowly escaped death and was taken prisoner in this action. He was later to become the CO of the regiment in the Indian Mutiny. Also in this action, Lieut William Jordan was killed.
34th Foot, Madras, India
34th in the Crimea
18th June 1855
The best known action in the siege of Sevastopol happened on the 18th June, the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Two main Russian defences were to be attacked on this day. The Malakoff and the Redan. The French were allocated the Malakoff and the British had to storm up to the Redan. The regiments selected for the attack were the 7th, 33rd, 88th, 34th, 57th and the Rifle Brigade, 800 in all, led by Sir John Campbell. The Russians had positioned extra guns in the night, loaded with grapeshot, so when the attack began in the early hours of the 18th the fire-storm directed at the advancing men was horrific. The CO of the 57th was killed and Campbell put himself at their front, leading the attack with Colonel Yea of the 7th. They were well in front of the body of men and both killed. The number of officer casualties was high which demoralised the men and they pulled back from the impenetrable Russian volleys having suffered the loss of nearly half their number. Only two officers of the 34th escaped injury or death. Officers of the regiment killed or died later from this attack were:
Ensign Robert John Browne Clayton, aged 20 and an only son form Aldington Lancs, died from wounds on 12th July.
Lieut H D Alt, killed
Capt Francis R Hurt, killed
Capt John Robinson, aged 29, killed.
Capt John Shiffner, killed
Private Charles Byrne was wounded in the throat. The bullet was removed in Netley Hospital and shown to Queen Victoria who was visiting the wounded there. She ordered it to be set in in a silver cross and presented to him. He also received the DCM when that decoration was instituted in 1862.