26,000 strong that sailed to Crimea in September 1854 was composed of; 5 Infantry divisions 1 Calvary division The Times: "the finest army that has ever left these shores" There were problems in command and organisation that had been neglected since 1815 (though there had been 4 decades of European peace) and there was little attention paid to another continental war
The Influence of Wellington
Parliament was preoccupied with retrenchment (the cutting of government spending) and public indifference, furthermore the army was largely run by the military high command without interference after 1815. The Peninsula War (between Portugal and Spain between British and French forces were commanded by Wellington for most of the war) also in the Battle at Waterloo (again led by Wellington, a battle between the Prussian and British forces defeating Napoleon Bonaparte) were examples of how well the British Army could run competently. The Duke of Wellington was Commander-in-Chief between 1827-1828 and again from 1842 to 1852. When he didn't hold his position he still had a high authority over military affairs, he wasn't opposed to new ideas but he took the view that what had served him well in the past was the surest guarantee of continuing success. He also believed that calls for reform were no more than calls for further economies.
In 1854 he was appointed to command the BEF having served well of Wellington's staff in the Peninsula and Waterloo battles. Nobody doubted his bravery, at Waterloo his right elbow was shattered by a musket-ball and the surgeon removed his arm. He was good at administration, diplomatic, patient, loyal and devoted.