The catalyst for the Crimean war came in the form of a religious dispute when the Tsar who as a protector of the Greek Orthodox Church, became incensed through Turkish concessions to France in connection with the protection of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Russia invaded the provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia in July 1853 and Turkey declared war in October.
Britain and France sent Naval forces to the Black Sea to protect Turkish shipping and with Russia making further advances into Turkish provinces, declared war with Russia on 23rd March 1854.
Whilst Russia withdrew following the arrival of a joint Anglo-French expedition, it was decided that in order to reduce Russian strength in the area, that they should mount a further expedition to the Crimea and neutralise Sebastopol (The major Russian Naval base on the Black Sea)
The engagements that followed for which separate bars were awarded to the Crimea Medal were as follows:
Alma – 20th Sept 1854 The Allied forces first encountered the Russian Army on the Alma River, the first Russian defence line before Sebastopol and under heavy fire, the river was crossed. Lord Raglan had favoured an immediate advance onto Sebastopol, but the French disagreed.
Sebastopol 11th Sept 1854 – 9th Sept 1855 – Arriving at Sebastopol, the Allied bombarded the town from 17th to 19th October. The Russians attempted to break through the besieging lines at Balaklava – 25th October 1854 (about 10 miles to the South East of the Siege operations) and on one occasion charged the 93rd foot commanded by Sir Colin Campbell in line (later known as the Thin Red Line) as a report in the Times described a “thin red streak tipped with a line of steel”. Shortly afterwards followed what many argue was a combination of errors in transmission of orders (Lord Raglan is charged with having been imprecise and Quarter Master Airey making too hurried transcription of the orders) the resultant confusion led to the most famous of cavalry charges, “the Charge of the Light Brigade” which under Lord Cardigan charged up a narrow one mile valley against massed Russian Artillery.
on 26th October 1854, the British repulsed the Russians in the first battle of Inkermann, with the main battle of the same name following on 5th November. Russian casualties were estimated at 15,000 with British casualties numbering over 2500.
Following this, the Siege proper of Sebastopol began which lasted through to September 1855
In February 1856, hostilities ceased and a peace treaty was signed on 30th March.
The Victoria Cross was introduced at the end of the conflict with a total of 111 issued for the Crimea campaign.
Azoff – 25th May – 22nd Sept 1855 for officers and men who were employed in the Sea of Azoff (only to Naval personnel and Marines who entered the Sea of Azoff)
During the Crimean War (1853–1856), a naval campaign was fought in the Sea of Azov between the Royal Navy and the French Navy against the Russian Navy between 25 May–22 November 1855. British and French warships struck at every vestige of Russian power along the coast of the Sea of Azov. Except for Rostov and Azov, no town, depot, building or fortification was immune from attack and Russian naval power ceased to exist almost overnight. Contrary to established images of the Russian War, here was a campaign which was well-planned, dynamically led and overwhelmingly successful.