Descendants of the descendants of the soldiers who died in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava are hopeful of publication of the final report 'any year now'. The inquiry, led by the 9th Lord Longton, whose great great grandfather presided over the very first hearing in 1854, is expected to move into its final stages within a matter of months.
'We appreciate that the inquiry has taken a little longer than originally anticipated by Prime Minister Lord Aberdeen' said Defence Secretary Liam Fox, 'but we owe it to everyone involved to ensure that a thorough job is done.'
Inquiry officials blamed ‘operational issues’ for the delays. ‘It is very difficult to conduct an inquiry when witnesses fail to turn up. One witness has been summoned annually since 1854 and has still not the common decency to show up. We have decided to discount him in the interests of expediency.’
‘Then there was the conversion to modern technology,’ he continued. ‘It took months to replace the candles, first with gas lamps and then electricity. Then there were those newfangled typewriters which were introduced in 1975.’
Dr. Fox stressed that the inquiry remained relevant. ‘There are lessons to be learned which will coincide neatly with the forthcoming Defence Review. We still need to know if, correctly managed, mounted cavalry still has a place in the modern army.’
Press speculation that the ‘sacking’ of Sir Jock Stirrup as chief of the defence staff was being played down last night. Whilst it is true that Sir Jock has steadfastly maintained the official line that the Army had made no mistakes, he has been overheard saying privately that the infamous charge had been the first instance of ‘regimental kamikaze tactics’, not seen again until the glorious Gallipoli campaign sixty years later.
Whilst the Longton inquiry has taken 156 years so far, it is not the longest running on record. It is understood that a planning inquiry looking into the build quality of a ‘prestigious development of affordable homes’ on Salisbury Plain, suspended for nearly 3,500 years, is due to report just as soon as officials can complete DNA tests to trace relatives of the rogue builders.