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A Tribute to


The Men of Tameside who served in The Crimean War


(1854 - 1856)


Picture of Men of Tameside who served in The Crimean War

A Blue Plaque to Honour the Men of Tameside who served in the Crimean War is located on Alma Bridge

The Crimean War

The War began in March 1854 as quarrels began between the Russian Orthodox monks and French Catholics, over who had precedence at the holy places in Jerusalem and Nazareth. By the end of the summer the French and British had driven the Russians out of Moldavia and Wallachia. The War should have ended here but it was decided that the Russian Naval base at Sevastopol was a huge security threat upon the region. So in September 1854 the French and the British landed on the Crimean Peninsula to send their forces southwards to Sevastopol.

On their way the Russians tried to prevent them crossing the River Alma. This resulted in the first major battle being fought - The Battle of The Alma. In one of the British Army's last full dress set piece battles, 30,000 British soldiers fought side by side in the centre of a mile and a half long `thin red line` with eventually the Russians being defeated and fleeing inland.

The British and French prepared their siege-work on Sevastopol and fought more battles over 1854 - 1856 before finally in 1856 Sevastopol fell and the war was brought to a conclusion by the Treaty of Paris. Reformers such as Florence Nightingale emerged. She noted after peacetime how the Army suffered a higher death rate through squalid barrack conditions.

Many local men fought and some lost their lives. It is recorded in 1911 that the Dukinfield Crimean War veterans were honoured at Dukinfield Town Hall each receiving a guinea. The photograph on the front of the leaflet shows the Dukinfield veterans outside Dukinfield Town Hall around 1900.

The History of Alma Bridge

Picture of a man on the Alma BridgeAlma Bridge was built by the Ashton and Dukinfield Bridge Company as a Toll Bar in 1854 at the beginning of the Crimean War to give access over the River Tame. The bridge took its name from the Battle of Alma which was fought during this period.

The tolls ceased on June 26th 1902, the Borough Surveyor of Dukinfield was alleged to have hung red, white and blue ribbons across the road in celebration. In the evening the rejoicing continued on Chapel Hill when the toll bar hut was publicly burnt and beer and meat pies were distributed to all.

The original toll bar notice and toll gates survived and can be seen on display at Portland Basin Museum in Ashton-under-Lyne. The photograph on the right shows the bridge and the toll bar hut, pictured with Joseph Sampson, the toll bar collector.

Other Crimean War Namings

Many places across Great Britain have common names deriving from the headline news at the time of their construction. In Dukinfield there is also Alma Street and Lower Alma Street and Inkerman Street in Hyde, named after another renowned battle of the Crimean War in which the 63rd Regiment, later the Manchester Regiment, distinguished themselves.

Acknowledgements

Alice Lock - Tameside Local Studies. Alan Rose -Tameside History Forum.

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