This small unmounted "snapshot" photograph depicts an elderly if somewhat ragged looking gentleman and is an
otherwise unremarkable image from sometime around the turn of the 20th Century. What makes it stand out is
the period fountain pen inscription on the reverse identifying the sitter as "one of the 600".  
The full inscription in only partial legible with the first word looking like an abbreviated version of "Lancer". The
rest of the brief  ink inscription reads: "Lancer(?) Dobinson one of the 600". This seem to indicate that Dobinson
was one of the 600 who made the famous charge at Balaclava during the Crimean War.

Information kindly provided by Mr. Michael Hargreave Mawson author of
Eyewitness to the Crimea reveals that
there was no one with the name of Dobinson appears in the rolls of those who served with the Light Brigade
during the Crimean War. Perhaps Mr. Dobinson did see active service during the war or was a member of the
17th Lancers at another time and place but his story - like all good fish tales - grew with the telling as the years
passed until at least to those who knew him he did indeed become one of the immortal 600.

Not liking to leave a mystery unresolved I did a bit of research into the Crimean War medal rolls to see if I might
turn up any other possibilities as to the actual identification to the above pictured Mr. Dobinson. To date my
research has led to the uncovering of only two men by the name of Dobinson who were entitled to the Crimean
War campaign medal. Naturally this very short list is not exhaustive and there could very well be others that
have escaped my investigation at this point. I also looked into the possibility that the first world in the inscription
I have taken as an abbreviation of "Lancer" may have been a first name such a "Lanoe" but this has led
nowhere.

The two soldiers that  I have found are Private No. 1394 John Dobinson of the Transport Corps and Private No.
6076 Joseph Dobinson of the 3rd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards. I quickly eliminated Joseph Dobinson since
the medal roll list his as being killed in action at Inkerman on 5 November, 1854. That would leave the first man
John Dobinson as a possibility. Unfortunately my serach for his service records have come up empty thus far
keeping me from searching further for him via other routes.

Unmounted Photograph
3 1/4 x 4 1/4 Inches
(approx 8 cm x 11cm)
Unknown Photographer
c. 1900