25 July 2022

Landfried, A Hero of Balaclava

Judy Middleton 2022

See:- Richard Caton Woodville, Jr., Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Charge of the Light Brigade by Richard Caton Woodville Jr., oil on canvas, 1894. Commissioned by the Illustrated London News. The painting, depicts the head of the charge with Lord Cardigan alongside the 17th Lancers.
Trumpeter Martin Landfried is some where in this painting possibly on one of the fallen horses.

In June 2022 there came news that The Remembrance Trust had just restored some headstones in Hove Cemetery including that of a great local hero who well deserves to be remembered. The tombstone is in the shape of sheathed sword draped over a cross, and the inscription runs as follows:

Here lies a solider of the king and the King of Kings Martin Leonard Landfried who from his 15th year served his country in the 17th Lancers at Sevastopol, the Alma, Balaclava – sounding the charge at the latter engagement – and in the Indian Mutiny and retiring as Trumpet Major in 1865 joined the 1st Sussex RGA (Volunteers) becoming Bandmaster in 1890. Born 25 August 1834 died 8th December 1901. God grant he many sleep sound from Last Post to Reveille. This monument was erected by the officers and gunners 1st Sussex RGA (Volunteers)

copyright © J.Middleton
Martin Leonard Landfried's headstone in Hove Cemetery

Landfried was born in Gibraltar where he remained for the first twelve years of his life, his father being Bandmaster of the King’s Royal Rifles. In 1849 while living in Dublin where his father was stationed, Martin joined the 17th Lancers as a trumpeter and served for seventeen years. The highlight of his service was the Charge of the Light Brigade that took place on 25 October 1854 where he was one of the ones who sounded the charge and ‘into the Valley of Death rode the six hundred.’ The Earl of Cardigan rode his charger ‘Ronald’ at the head of 13th Light Dragoons and the 17th Lancers. It was a magnificent feat against impossible odds but resulted in the loss of a third of the 673 cavalrymen involved. Landfried was wounded when a bullet went through his right arm, glanced off the pouch he wore at his side, and killed the horse he was riding.

The injured Landfried was evacuated to Florence Nightingale’s military hospital at Scutari.
After his service in the Crimea, Landfried was posted to India where he saw action in the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58 and in 1865 he retired from the army with the rank of Trumpet Sergeant Major.

The Famous Bugle ‘Charge’

There were five regiments who took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade: 4th & 13th Dragoons, 8th & 11th Hussars and the 17th Lancers with each regiment having their own trumpeter.

There has been much controversy over the years as to which trumpeter sounded the initial bugle ‘charge’, it is most probable that Lord Cardigan’s own orderly trumpeter – William Brittain was the first, with all other trumpeters of the five regiments, including Martin Landfried repeating the ‘charge’.

S. Hannington & Sons

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
S. Hannington & Sons in North Street, Brighton

After Landfried retired from the Army he took up a clerical post on the staff at the famous Hannington’s store in Brighton. He had married Josephine Holdsworth Barnes who was from St Leonards (Hastings), on Christmas Eve 1866 at St Nicolas Church, Brighton. Martin’s marriage certificate states his profession was an accountant.

The couple’s children were as follows: Annie (b.1868), Leonard (b/d.1871), Adelaide (b/d.1872), Faith (b.1874), George (b.1876), Josephine (b.1878) and Rosina (b.1882). The family lived for a while in Lewes Street, Brighton.

copyright © National Portrait Gallery
Colonel George Edward Gouraud
 ('Men of the Day. No. 421.')
published in Vanity Fair
13 April 1889

Martin’s wife Josephine died in 1890 aged 42.

Martin Landfried’s Sound Recording

In 1890, Colonel George Gouraud, who was Thomas Edison’s representative in London, invited one of the last surviving trumpeters of the Charge of the Light Brigade, namely Martin Landfried to Edison House, Northumberland Street, London to record the famous ‘Charge’ on the new invention of a wax-cylinder sound recorder. Gourand borrowed the famous bugle used at the Battle of Waterloo of 1815 from the British Museum for Landfried to reproduce the sound of the ‘Charge’. The recording was made on the 2 August 1890, with which Colonel Gouraud toured England playing this recording in aid of the Light Brigade Relief Fund to excited crowds in towns and villages throughout the land who were experiencing the invention of recorded sound for the very first time.

Martin Landfried gave an introduction on the wax-cylinder, which was as follows:-

I am Trumpeter Landfried. One of the surviving trumpeters of the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. I am now going to sound the bugle that was sounded at Waterloo, and sound the charge as was sounded at Balaclava on that very same bugle on the 25th of October, 1854.’

Martin Landfried's voice and the sound of the bugle on this wax cylinder recording, can be heard by clicking on the following Red Web-Link:-

Colonel George Gouraud, a hero of the American Civil War, was no stranger to Hove, In 1900 Gouraud gave financial backing to Horace Short to establish Menlo Laboratories at 2 Hove Park Villas, and it seems he envisaged a factory turning out clever inventions. There were three Short brothers - Horace (1872-1917) Eustace (1875-1832) and Oswald (1883-1969) and today the brilliant brothers are celebrated as pioneering aeronautical engineers. Colonel George Gouraud lived at 108 Marine Parade, Kemp Town, Brighton in the early 1900s.

Martin Landfried in Hove

copyright © D. Sharp
64, Westbourne Street, Hove

The 1891 Census shows Martin, now age 57, living at 64 Westbourne Street, Hove, along with his new wife, Tunbridge Wells born Annie Knight, aged 31, and four of his children from his previous marriage: Faith (17), George (15), Josephine (13) and Rosina (8).

copyright © D. Sharp
4, Portland Road, Hove

The 1901 Census shows Martin (67) now living at 4, Portland Road, Hove along with his wife Annie (41), his sister-in-law Katherine Knight (48) a dressmaker and two borders, the married couple, William Sherriffs (75) and Anne Sherriffs (73), both from Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland.

1st Sussex Royal Garrison Artillery Volunteers

When Landfried worked at Hannington’s, it was actively concerned with the Volunteer Movement and employees of the firm made up an entire Battery of the Brighton Artillery; it was no surprise when Landfried became involved with the Volunteers too. Landfried worked at Hannington’s for many years and upon his retirement, he was presented with an illuminated address.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 23 May 1885

Landfried would sometimes perform his party piece in order to raise funds for good causes. This took place in conjunction with the famous actress Amy Sedgwick (1830-1897) another resident of Hove. While she recited Tennyson’s well-known poem The Charge of the Light Brigade, Landfried would sound the celebrated bugle call. Naturally, such an emotional performance meant there was not a dry eye in the house.

copyright © National Portrait Gallery
Amy Sedgwick (Sarah Gardiner)
by Charles Bristow Walker
circa 1860, NPG x22398

Landfried retained his interest in the 1
st Sussex Artillery Volunteers after he retired and remained Bandmaster.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 26 July 1890

Although his health was failing, he insisted on joining his last parade a few weeks before he died. His comrades conveyed him in a riding chair, dressed in his uniform of Bandmaster of the Artillery, to the muster of the Yeomanry at the Wilbury Riding Stables, Hove. Afterwards, he attempted to accompany the young soldiers to St Peter’s Church, Brighton, but he only made it as far as Queen Victoria’s statue in Grand Avenue. At his request, the band later turned up at his house 4 Portland Road, and played several of his favourite pieces.

When Landfried died, his family hoped for a quiet funeral but he was held in such high esteem that a full military funeral was held instead. The entire Corps of the Artillery Volunteers with their officers assembled outside 4 Portland Road, and his coffin was laid on a gun carriage. The coffin was draped with the Union Jack, and on top were Landfried’s helmet, sword and baton. The procession moved off, accompanied by the sound of muffled drums, and headed to Holy Trinity Church where the funeral was held before moving on to Hove Cemetery.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Brighton Herald 20 December 1901

A sergeant, representing the 17
th Lancers, travelled all the way from Edinburgh, and arrived when the service was already in progress. Among the many floral tributes was one in the shape of a trumpet composed of violets and white chrysanthemums with a card inscribed ‘From a comrade’s son, George Flowers’. Mr Flowers was a saddler and harness maker whose shop was at 64 George Street, Hove. His father had been in the front line of the 17th Lancers at Balaclava and was killed. His pregnant wife was with him in the Crimea, and afterwards she returned to England where their son George was born.

copyright © H.J.G. Flowers
George Flowers, saddler and harness maker, stands proudly outside his shop in around 1894. He was named George after his father who served in the 17th Lancers and was killed before he was born in the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Fascinating Footnote

At Landfried’s funeral his helmet was laid on top of his coffin. The helmet was treasured by the family as an almost holy relic. The Brighton Herald (5 July 1915) carried an interesting story; Mrs Barker of Trafalgar Road, Portslade, had donated a helmet of the 17th Lancers to Brighton Museum. Although this occurred over a hundred years ago, and it is unlikely that a cast-iron connection can be made, it seems at least probable that it was Landfried’s helmet. Today you can see marvellous images of the helmet on-line, together with information about the 17th Lancers, but there does not seem to be a mention of Landfried.

copyright © Brighton & Hove Bus Company
The Brighton & Hove Bus Company’s
Martin Landfried bus
unfortunately misspelt ‘Langfried’


Brighton Herald (5 July 1915)

Brighton & Hove Bus Company

Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade

Internet Archive (USA)

National Portrait Gallery, London

Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

The Remembrance Trust, 1-3 Waterloo Crescent, Dover, Kent CT16 1LA

Daily Mail (23 June 2022) – The article was accompanied by ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs of Landfried’s grave in Hove Cemetery but there was no information about him. The text does mention Hove Cemetery where ‘dozens of faded headstones’ have been restored ‘including that of George Westphal’. But the latter name is an error because Admiral Westphal was not buried in Hove Cemetery but in the family vault in St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove.

Copyright © J.Middleton 2022
page layout by and additional research by D. Sharp