Raglan sleeves became well-known during the Crimean War in 1852 because of a coat worn by the commander-in-chief, Lord Raglan. The sleeve made the coat different from others, and it has continued to be stylish to this day.
Lord Raglan (1788-1855) was named Fitzroy James Henry Somerset at birth. He spent most of his life in the military as Lord Fitzroy, serving as an aide-de-camp for forty years to the Duke of Wellington, whose niece he had married. At Waterloo, Lord Fitzroy was shot in the shoulder by a sniper, and a military doctor amputated his right arm. As the amputated arm was being carted away, he yelled, «Bring back my arm. The ring my wife gave me is on one of the fingers».
In 1852 England joined forces with France against Russia, and the Crimean War began. Lord Fitzroy, now the first Baron Raglan, was appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces by Queen Victoria.
Raglan had no field experience and, according to historians, was not a military strategist. Worse, he kept confusing France with Russia and vice versa. The war had little historical significance and would probably be treated with little respect in history books were it not for the battle of Balaclava, in which confused communications between Raglan and the field commander, Lord Cardigan, led to the death of the brave Six Hundred, immortalized by Lord Alfred Tennyson in his famous poem «The Charge of the Light Brigade».
Raglan became the scapegoat for the Crimean War, a most unpopular undertaking. He was blamed for the sufferings of the British soldiers and the death of fifteen hundred of them at Sevastopol — as well as for the rout of the British army. Army medical reports said Raglan died of cholera. But attending doctors said he died of a broken heart.