Alexander Roberts Dunn
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|Alexander Roberts Dunn|
Charge of the Light Brigade
by Richard Caton Woodville (1825-1855)
|Born||15 September 1833
York, Upper Canada, Canada
|Died||25 January 1868 (aged 34)
|Buried at||Senafe, Eritrea|
|Years of service||1852 - 1868|
100th Regiment of Foot
|Commands held||33rd Regiment of Foot|
1868 Expedition to Abyssinia
Alexander Roberts Dunn VC (15 September 1833 – 25 January 1868) was the first Canadian awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Dunn was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854 when he was 21 years of age and serving in the British Army's 11th Hussars. Dunn rescued a sergeant by cutting down two or three Russian lancers who had attacked from the rear. Later in the battle he killed another Russian who had been attacking a private.
He sold his commission at the end of the Crimean War but rejoined the Army in 1858 as a major in the 100th Regiment of Foot. He exchanged into the 33rd Regiment of Foot, in 1864 in which regiment he remained until his death in the Abyssinian War.
Dunn was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1864 and commanded the 33rd Regiment at the start of the 1868 Expedition to Abyssinia, but was killed in unusual circumstances during a hunting accident at Senafe before the military part of the campaign started. He was the first Canadian to command a British Army regiment.
For over 50 years his medals were on display in the main foyer of his old school, Upper Canada College, in Toronto. In 1977, due to a number of recent thefts and "losses" of Victoria Cross medals the school replaced the VC with a copy and moved the original to their bank safe deposit box.