A Family Casualty at Majuba

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A Family Casualty at Majuba

Postby terrylee » 30 Oct 2017 20:35

As a Pietermaritzburg teenager in the late 1950s, I remember my mother telling me that a relative of my grandfather's, "a British Military Doctor", had lost his life at the battle of Majuba. At the time I was not particularly interested, but her words stuck in my mind and during the wonderful leisure of retirement I decided to take the matter further.

Basic research confirmed that a regimental surgeon, a certain Arthur Jermyn Landon, had indeed been mortally wounded during Colley's defeat, died a few days after the battle and was buried at the Mount Prospect Cemetery. This was interesting but by no means proof that my mother had her facts right.

However, at this time and on going through my mother's papers, I came across an incomplete draft of what my grandfather had obviously intended to be an autobiography based upon the diary he maintained for over sixty years. Born in 1860, he arrived in Durban from the U.K. during March, 1882, on what was intended to be a six-month visit which in fact only ended upon his death in 1948! Of particular interest to me was an account of a trip that he made from Pietermaritzburg to Moodie's Lower Camp (near Barberton) which lasted from the end of June, until mid-August, 1884. I found his comments upon passing Majuba particularly enlightening. I quote:

"Naturally, I took the opportunity of going up Majuba, where I saw the scene of the massacre..................This engagement had a special interest to me, as one of my cousins, Surgeon A. Landon was one of the killed. He was attending the wounded on the top during the engagement, and was accompanied by his servant who held over him a red cross flag. This, however, was ignored by the Boers, one of whom sent a bullet through the servant's hand, upon which he promptly held up the flag in the other hand. Surgeon Landon was again shot at, and killed, his body now resting with a few others at the bottom of the hill, with those of Sir G.B. Colley and other officers".

Apart from the fact that Landon only died two days later, this account conforms to other sources at my disposal. The one remaining question was exactly how this "cousin" was related to my grandfather? Further research involving British "Community Trees" and family records showed that both my great grandmother and Arthur Landon's mother shared the maiden name of "Brown" and were thus probably sisters.

In conclusion I attach some documents and photos including two that I took of Landon's grave at the Mount prospect Cemetery which after unearthing these facts I felt duty-bound to visit.
Attachments
Landon 1.jpg
Landon 1.jpg (168.24 KiB) Viewed 741 times
Landon 2.jpg
Landon 2.jpg (223.62 KiB) Viewed 741 times
Landon 3.jpg
Landon 3.jpg (179.45 KiB) Viewed 741 times
Landon 4.JPG
Landon 4.JPG (187.4 KiB) Viewed 741 times
Landon 5.JPG
Landon 5.JPG (187.34 KiB) Viewed 741 times
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terrylee
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Re: A Family Casualty at Majuba

Postby almaboy » 31 Oct 2017 11:24

Some wonderful information there, thanks for posting.

Are you aware that 'the servant' referred to in the text of your relatives letter won the VC as a result of his actions?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_John_Farmer

Tony.
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Re: A Family Casualty at Majuba

Postby terrylee » 31 Oct 2017 16:46

Thanks Tony, Interesting information on Joseph Farmer, the "servant". According to another account he was given a morphine injection by the mortally wounded Landon after being hit by a second bullet. My grandfather was obviously unaware of the finer details surrounding his cousin's death! Terry.
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Re: A Family Casualty at Majuba

Postby Isandlwana » 18 Feb 2018 21:02

Terry,

Sorry for the delayed posting.

I thought you might be interested in a photograph of 2nd Corporal Joseph Farmer, taken prior to his Victoria Cross presentation.

Image
2nd Corporal Joseph Farmer, V. C., Army Hospital Corps.
John Young Collection.

I will look through my collection for my carte-de-visite of Surgeon Landon and add that as well.

John Y.
Not theirs to save the day but where they stood, falling, to dye the earth
with brave men's blood for England's sake and duty...
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Re: A Family Casualty at Majuba

Postby mike snook » 19 Feb 2018 03:08

Tipped m'hat at that grave a few times. Lovely cemetery. Cleaned it up a few times with British Army parties.

As ever,

M
Dr Mike Snook MBE psc
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