Essential Guide to Edexcel GCE History: The Experience of Warfare in Britain 1854-1929


Crimea 1853-1855


Numbers of men:

  • British Field Army had 28,000 men at the first battle, reinforcements did arrive.
  • Combined, the allies outnumbered Russia (63,000 vs 33,000).
  • 664 men in the Light Brigade.

Terms of service:

  • Soldiers signed up for 21 years.
  • Pension of 1 shilling a day.
  • Half of the army were from Scotland and Ireland to escape poverty.


  • Flogging up to 50 strokes (1200 in the 1820’s).
  • 3000 soldiers in military prison at one time.
  • 1 out of 8 soldiers arrested every month for being drunk.
  • 2000 men per year deserted.

Purchase of commission:

  • Landed or titled families.
  • Lieutenant - £1000.
  • Lieutenant Colonel - £7000.
  • Half of officers bought promotions.

Lord Raglan:

  • Hadn’t been at war since 1815.
  • Stayed in the Crimea for the whole of the war.

Duke of Wellington:

  • War hero.
  • Blocked reform of the army.
  • No one would go against his word.
  • He died in 1852.


  • Froze tracks.
  • Gave animal nowhere to graze.
  • Supplies couldn’t get to the front line.
  • Severe cold caused the deaths of: 9000 fit men and 23000 unfit men.

Medical Issues in the Crimea


The initial medical support:

  • 1853 – 8 doctors in the Crimea.
  • 80% of men died of disease.
  • 1854-1855 winter, 1/3 of the British Army died of disease.


  • The doctors still did all the operations and stitching etc, the nurses were basically a support basis.
  • Florence Knightingale (middle class) went to Scutari Hospital, 4th November1854.
  • Florence Knightingale controlled 39 nurses out of 230.
  • Mary Stanley (protestant) controlled 47 nurses, more than Knightingale.
  • Mary Seacole (muletto, funded herself) set up the British Hotel.
  • Mary Seacole was the only one on the front lines out of the 3.
  • Only Mary Seacole had any form of medical expertise.

Sanitary Commission:

  • March 1855.
  • Scutari Death rates: 42% in March 1855, 2% in June 1855.
  • Basic sanitary improvements.
  • Floors replaced.
  • Double rows of mattresses replaced with single ones.



William Howard Russell

  • First true war correspondent.
  • Critical of influential figures.
  • Worked for the Times, very critical of Raglan.
  • There was appropriate form of government censorship in place.
  • The Times was read by the middle classes, who could influence politics and the war.

Boer War 1899-1902


Why the Boer War started

History of the tension:

  • Britain took the Cape Colony in 1814-1815 after the Napoleonic Wars. Gradually moved up and took the whole of South Africa.
  • Slavery abolished in British Empire in 1833, angered Boers.
  • Boers want independence.
  • Britain wanted trade routes across Africa and to keep empire.
  • Britain wanted to protect India.

Zulu Wars 1970s:

  • Britain fought with Boers to overturn the last of the Zulus.
  • Britain confirmed occupation of the northern states.
  • Boers give Britain sovereignty (ownership) over their area.

First Boer War 1880-1881:

  • Boers demanded independence after the Zulu Wars.

Battle of Majuba Hill during the First Boer War:

  • Boers defeated 400 Brits and pushed them out.
  • Gladstone conceded to demands for the Boers to occupy Transvaal and Orange Free State, although Britain still…


Hannah Staples


this is so helpful!! thank you sooo much! x

David ashaolu


Really good, improved by own knowledge of all three wars.



wow thanx v.much--- it helped-- really good summary

Immie Charnley





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