Lacy Walter Giles Yea was born on 20 May 1808 in Park Row, Bristol. He was eldest son of Sir William Walter Yea, second baronet, of Pyrland, Somerset and his wife Anne Heckstetter. Lacy Yea was educated at Eton and then was commissioned as ensign in the 37th foot on 6 October 1825. He purchased the rank of Lieutenant on 19 December 1826 and was appointed to the 5th foot on 13 March 1827. He exchanged to the 7th Royal Fusiliers on 13 March 1828. He served with the regiment in the Mediterranean and America, becoming captain 30 December 1836. He was promoted to Major on 3 June 1842 and then to Lieutenant-Colonel on 9 August 1850. He never married.
In 1854 he went out to Turkey and the Crimea in command of the 7th. At the Battle of the Alma his regiment was on the right of the Light Division. The fusiliers held their own against a column of about 1500 Russians after the rest of Codrington's brigade had retired and eventually forced it back, largely through Yea's personal exertions. The regiment lost twelve officers and more than two hundred men. Yea received a letter of congratulation from Sir Edward Blakeney, the Regiment's colonel.
At Inkerman the fusiliers were not seriously engaged. Yea was mentioned in despatches of 28 September and 11 November; he was made Brevet-Colonel on 28 November. During the hardships of the winter his care of his men was exemplary. They were the first who had hospital huts and Yea never missed a turn of duty in the trenches.
In the summer he had command of a brigade of the Light Division, and in the assault of the Redan on 18 June 1855 he led the column directed against the left face. It comprised a covering party of a hundred riflemen, a ladder party of about two hundred, a storming party of four hundred men of the 34th, and a reserve of eight hundred men of the 7th and 33rd. Leaving his reserve under cover for the time, he went forward with the rest, reached the abattis after covering about a quarter of a mile across open land and was shot dead. His body was brought in next day, and he was buried on the 20th.
Lord Raglan, in his despatch of the 19th June said: ‘Colonel Yea was not only distinguished for his gallantry, but had exercised his control of the royal fusiliers in such a manner as to win the affection of the soldiers under his orders, and to secure to them every comfort and accommodation which personal exertions could secure for them'. Yea was buried in the cemetery at Sebastopol.
Last modified 14 June 2002