The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex

The Mystery of Edward Realf
by Sheila Smith
published in 2005
This document have been reproduced with the permission of Sheila Smith and the Uckfield District Preservation Society where it was originally published in their magazine "Hindsight"


The Mystery of Edward Realf

On 16th December, 1854, Ralph Edwards of Rickmansworth Hertfordshire, aged 23 joined the 9th Battalion of the Royal Artillery as a gunner/driver. He became a bombardier on the 10th January 1856, and was in Constantinople in hospital (possibly Scutari) in February 1856 when he had an apoplectic attack following a fever. By May he was in Portsmouth where he had a second attack and was invalided out of the R. A. on November 11th 1856. He had served for a total of one year and three hundred and thirty two days, of which eight months were in Constantinople, unfit for service. 1 Ralph's war was a very short one. It seems likely that he was in action from December 1854 until about February 1856. He would not have been present at the battles of the Alma, Balaklava, or Inkerman (September, October and November 1854 respectively.) and was ill in Constantinople when the Armistice was signed on February 29th, 1856. Ralph would have been one of the second wave of troops sent out to the Crimea and, as a gunner, would probably have been involved in the second to the sixth bombardments of Sebastopol which met with varying degrees of success. 2 The taking of Sebastopol, in September 1855, marked the effective end of the war although the Treaty of Paris was not signed until the end of march.

The facts from his Army medical records 3 show that Ralph was returned to England in May 1856 after his first apoplectic attack (stroke) and had a second attack in Portsmouth, resulting in his having a "paralytic affection of the muscles of the face and tongue" and being "rendered totally deaf". He was granted a pension of 6d per day from his discharge on the 11th November 1856 until 2nd June 1858 and this was renewed at six monthly intervals until it was made permanent on 26th April 1864.

[1] Military records of Ralph Edwards, R. A. no: 4663 at TNA, Kew,

[2] See "Into Battle" British orders of Battle for the Crimean War 1854 to 1856

[3] Military records of Ralph Edwards, R. A. no: 4663 at TNA, Kew,

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