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Added 1.5.2011. Minor edits 28.2.14, 1.4.14. Small addition and minor edits 24.3.15. New information added 27.3.17.

694, Private Joseph RHODES - 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born at Bramhope, near Otley, Yorkshire.

His age at enlistment suggests he was born c.1817, but the 1881 Census implies c.1809, and his age reported at his death, c.1814.


Enlisted at Leeds on the 20th of December 1835.

Age: 18.

Height: 5' 6".

Trade: Servant.

Appearance: Fresh complexion. Grey eyes. Brown hair.


1851 Census

Piershill Barracks, Leith, South Midlothian.

Joseph Rhodes, 37, soldier, Private, born Otley Yorks.

Wounded in action at Balaclava and sent to Scutari (no date shown) before being invalided to England on the 16th of December 1854.

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Chatham Invalid Depot on the 2nd of October 1855, as "Unfit for further service. - Right forearm partially disabled after gun-shot wound of upper third at Balaclava."

Served 21 years 287 days.

Conduct and character "good."

He was awarded a pension of 1/- per day.

He said he intended to live in Coventry after discharge, and was still there in 1875.


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, and Sebastopol, and the Turkish medal.


Attended the first Balaclava Banquet in 1875.

Member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in 1877 and 1879.

Life after service

In the later years of his life he was employed as a Horse-keeper, a Groom or Cab Driver at Coventry.

1861 Census

5, Vickerlane, Coventry.

Joseph Rhodes, 42, Groom, born Hotley (s/b Otley).

Selina Rhodes, 34, born Kenilworth.

Sarah Ann Rhodes, 3, born Coventry.

1871 Census

3, House 1 Court, Chapel Street, Coventry.

Joseph Rhodes, 55, Labourer Cab Driver, born Bramhope.

Selina Rhodes, 44, Dress Maker, born Kenilworth.

Marriage registered

Sarah Ann Rhodes [Daughter] to Jabez Frederick Clements, June Quarter 1880, Coventry.

1881 Census

"Chapel St 1 C 2 Ho" [presumably the same as "2, Chapel Yard, Chapel Street", shown on his death certificate], Coventry Holy Trinity, Warwick.

Joseph Rhodes is shown on the 1881 Census as married, aged 72, a "Groom (8)" [?]. His wife Selina is shown as "mother in law" in a separate household at 24, Wellington Street, the home of Jabez Clements.

He is erroneously shown as "Rohdes", obviously a transcription error by the enumerator. [RM]

24, Wellington Street, Coventry.

Jabez Fredk Clements, 24, Worsted Weaver, born Coventry.

Sarah Ann Clements [daughter], 23, born Coventry.

Jane Clements, widow, 81, grandmother, born Coventry.

Selina Rhodes, married, 53, mother-in law, Sick Nurse, born Kenilworth, Warwick.

Death & burial

Joseph Rhodes died 4th of January 1884.

Death registered

Joseph Rhodes, aged 70 years, March Quarter 1884, Coventry.

His death certificate shows that he died at 2, Chapel Yard, Chapel Street, in the parish of Holy Trinity, Coventry, a "Groom, Army Pensioner", on the 4th of January 1884, aged 70 years, from "Valvular disease of the heart". Jabez Frederick Clements, son-in-law, of 24, Lower Wellington Street, Coventry, was present at his death. (See copy of the death certificate in the 13th Light Dragoons "Certificates" file.)

From the Coventry Herald and Free Press, 11th of January 1884:

"On Friday last there died in this city at the age of seventy, Joseph Rhodes, one of the few survivors of the celebrated Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava.

The deceased, who was a native of Yorkshire, entered the 13th Light Dragoons - now the 13th Hussars - in 1836 and in 1854 on the outbreak of hostilities with the Russians, Rhodes, who was still a private, went with his regiment to the Crimea, where he took part in the famous charge.

He was also present at the battle of the Alma and other engagements in the Crimea, returning home in 1856 after 21 years service, with the Crimean medal, the badges for Balaclava and Inkerman and a pension of 1/- per day.

For many years the deceased had been employed as a horse-keeper by Mr. W. D. Claridge of the Craven Arms Hotel, and that gentleman frequently showed him great kindness.

The deceased had many times expressed a wish that at the time of his death his remains should be interred with military honours and Mr. Claridge attempted to comply with this but owing to the disbandment of the battery at the near-by barracks it was found impractical to obtain a military funeral."

[PB: His death was also noticed outside of Coventry.]

Dundee, Perth, Forfar, and Fife's People's Journal, 12 January 1884:


Recently, at Coventry, Joseph Rhodes, one the remaining survivors of the celebrated charge the Six Hundred Balaclava, aged 70. The deceased, who was native of Yorkshire, enlisted in the 13th Light Dragoons (now the 12th [13th] Hussars) in 1836, and in 1854, on the outbreak of hostilities with Russia, Rhodes, who was still private, went with his regiment to the Crimea, where he took part in the famous charge. He was also present at the battle of Inkerman and other engagements, returning home on his discharge in 1856, after twenty-one years' service, with the Crimean medal, the Balaclava and Inkerman badge, and pension of 1s a day.

[Source: Dundee, Perth, Forfar, and Fife's People's Journal, 12 January 1884.]

Ulverston Mirror, 12 January 1884:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Joseph Rhodes was buried in an un-marked grave-space in London Road Cemetery, Coventry, on the 8th of January 1884, aged 70 years. (See photograph in the 13th Hussar file.) His wife, Selina, was buried in the same grave on the 3rd of February 1897 and his daughter, son-in-law and grandson are also buried there.

His grave site is Reference No. 201 Square 75. The following is shown in the Cemetery records; "Plot purchased by Sarah Rhodes of Chapel Street for the sum of £1/2/7d. The following burials are recorded, the dates being those of interment:

8th January 1884: Joseph Rhodes. Age 70. Chapel Street.

11th January 1895: Alec Cole. Age 1 month. Hill Street. Hill Street.

26th September 1896: Sarah Ann Clements. Age 38. Hill Street.

3rd February 1897: Selina Rhodes. Age 70 years. Hill Street

5th July 1899: Jabez Frederick Clements. Age 43 years. Found drowned at Stoneleigh.

Further information

Deaths registered

Sarah Ann Clements [daughter], aged 38 years, September Quarter 1896, Coventry.

Selina Rhodes [wife], 70 years, March Quarter 1897, Coventry.

Jabez Frederick Clements [son-in-law], 43 years, September Quarter 1899, Coventry.

The suicide by drowning of Joseph Rhodes's son-in-law, Jabez Clements, reported in the Leamington Spa Courier, 8 July 1899.

(Click on image to enlarge)

References & acknowledgements

Census information for 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891, information about JR's membership of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in 1877, several death registrations, and the newspaper cutting about Jabez Clements's suicide kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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