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Further information added 20.9.2015. Minr edits 15.11.2018

1278, Private James MALANFY — 13th Light Dragoons

Also recorded as "Malanphy".

Birth & early life

Born at Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, c.1826.


Enlisted at Dublin on the 15th of July 1846.

Age: 20.

Height: 5' 8".

Trade: Clerk.

Appearance: Fresh complexion. Grey eyes. Dk. brown hair.


Tried and imprisoned by a Regimental Court-martial, 11th-30th of July 1850, and again 18th of November — 18th of December 1852.

In "Barrack Cells", 3rd — 9th of May 1862.

Aged 46 years 4 months on discharge.

Awarded a pension of 1/3d. per day.

Next of kin (in 1868): Wife, Catherine Malanfy.

Births registered

Mary Ann Malanfy, September Quarter 1863, Farnham.

Georgina Malanfy, December Quarter 1872, Farnham.

Margaret Malanfy, June Quarter 1875, Leeds.

Discharge & pension

Discharged from Colchester on the 4th of January 1874,"Recommended to pension," after 27 years' service.

Served 27 years 115 days. In Turkey and the Crimea, 2 years.

Conduct: "very good".

In possession of five Good Conduct badges.

Fourteen times entered in the Regimental Defaulter's book. Twice tried by Court-martial.


Entitled to the Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman, Sebastopol and the Turkish medal.

Documents confirm the award of the Crimean and Turkish medals.

Awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal on the 15th of April 1876 (after he had left the Army). His name, however, was crossed through and in the "Remarks" column is "Entered in error, 1874-75". The original entry is recorded under the years 1875-76 as "Medal issued by Woolwich", and there is no recording of the award under 1874-75.

Further detailed medal information archived.


Attended the first Balaclava Banquet in 1875. His name was on the 1877 list but not on the 1879 revised list of members of the Balaclava Commemoration Society.

The following appeared in an Aldershot paper on the 13th of July 1872:

13th Hussars.

Presentation of a veteran to Her Majesty.

On Friday week (July the 5th 1872) on the occasion of the visit of Her Majesty to this station (Aldershot) His Royal Highness the Commander-in-Chief, the Duke of Cambridge, presented Private Malanfy of "A" Troop (Captain Starkey's) to Her Majesty.

Malanfy has seen 26 years' service and was present in the Balaclava Charge and wears four Good Conduct badges and the Turkish and Crimean medals, with four clasps. He was wounded by a musket-ball in the Charge, and owing the preservation of his life to a six-penny piece which he had in one of his trouser-pockets. This coin caused the bullet to pass in an oblique direction and in the course of which a wound was inflicted. [EJB: He is not shown in any "official" casualty lists.]

The horse on which he rode at the time was also shown to Her Majesty. The noble animal, whose name was "Butcher", joined the regiment as a three-year-old in 1851 and was wounded in the Charge and been recently presented to the regiment, never to be sold. [See also the record of 1228 Harry Powell, 13th Light Dragoons.]

Malanfy was the only cavalry soldier of his regiment at his duty who was in the Charge [PB: What does this mean?]. After being presented to Her Majesty he was ordered to follow in the rear of the Regiment in order that the Royal Family might recognise him as he passed by on the horse that had been for so many years his companion in both peace and war.

As recently as July of this year he had a silver medal presented to him with the usual gratuity of £5 accompanying it by the Colonel of the Scots Greys, bearing the following inscription; "1275 Private James Malanfy, 13th Hussars." for long service and good conduct. [EJB: This last comment is at variance with the known date of his being awarded the Long Service & Good Conduct medal.]

Extract from the Army and Navy Gazette, 13th of July 1872:

"13th Hussars. — The Duke of Cambridge presented Private Malanfy of Captain Starkey's Troop to Her Majesty at Aldershot on Friday the 5th inst. Malanfy has been 26 years in the Army and wears five good conduct badges: he is also in possession of the Crimean medal with four clasps and the Turkish medal and was wounded at the battle of Balaclava. The horse on which he rode was also shown to the Queen. It too, was wounded in the Charge, and has very recently been presented to the Regiment, never to be sold."

Life after service

To live in Colchester after discharge, but he was living in Leeds from the 1st of May 1874.

Death & burial

James Malanfy died on the 11th of October 1877 at 3, Clarence Street, Leeds.

Death registered

James Malanfy, aged 43 years [sic], December Quarter 1877, Leeds.

Extract from the Leeds Mercury, 13th of October 1877:

Death of a Balaclava Hero in Leeds

James Malanfy, a Private who was discharged from the 13th Hussars on the 20th of January 1874, after 27 years' service, with a pension of 1/3d/ per day, died at his residence, No 3 Clarence Street, Sheepscar Street, on Thursday last (the 11th October).

Malanfy was in the Light Cavalry Brigade who rode into the "Valley of death" on that memorable occasion on the morning of October 25th 1854, and was one of those who volunteered, along with Riding Master Malone, to capture an escort of the enemy's cavalry and baggage which they were escorting into Sebastopol and for which act of bravery Malone was awarded the Victoria Cross (sic) [See the record of 1440 Joseph Malone.]

Malanfy, who leaves a wife and seven children, the eldest being only fourteen and the youngest an infant, aged four weeks, has been employed as a night-watchman at Messrs. T. Green and Son, Smithfield Iron Works, Leeds.

Recently his fellow employees raised a subscription to pay his expenses to London to enable him to join his fellow-comrades at the first celebration dinner of the Balaclava Charge, which took place at the Alexandra Palace, in October of 1875."

James Malanfy was buried in the Beckett Street Cemetery at Leeds on the 14th of October 1877. The records show him as being buried in Grave No. 262/58, being brought from No. 3 Clarence Street, Sheepscar, a "Pensioner" and aged 43 years. The grave number 262/58 has been crossed out in pencil and 262/61 substituted. The actual grave register confirms the latter number, the grave-plot being the property of Catherine Malanfy, and others buried in the plot bear the surnames of Burton and O'Brien. There being a number of children in his family, these were possibly married daughters, etc.

The plot is situated just south of the "Temperance Way" (so named after two teetotallers buried at the junction with "Dissenter's Walk"). There is no erected headstone.

Further information

1881 Census

3, Clarence Street, Leeds.

Catherine Malanfy, widow, 39, born Manchester.

Mary A, 19, born Aldershot Barracks.

James, 17, born Hounslow Barracks.

Kate, 15, born Canterbury Barracks.

Nelly, 11, born Edinburgh Barracks.

Georgiana, 9, born Aldershot Barracks.

<[>Maggie, 6, born Leeds, Yorkshire.

John, 3, born Leeds Yorkshire.

Photographs & illustrations

Photo of

'"Butcher", The last survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade, with six men of the 13th Hussars [Light Dragoons], including James "Malanphy" [sic]'

(Click on image to enlarge)

As "James Malanphy", he appears in a photograph taken at Colchester in 1873 along with several other men still serving in the 13th, and "Butcher", a veteran horse from the Crimea. Since several of the men pictured are known to have taken part in the Charge, and it is obviously a posed picture, quite probably all did.

The men shown (left to right) are Sergeant-Major Edwin Hughes, Privates James Malanfy, Henry Hunt, John Douglas and James Lamb, and Sergeant-Major William Eccles. This photograph can be found in Barrett's Regimental History.

References & acknowledgements

Additional Census information for 1881, and details of the registrations of James Malanfy's death and the births of some of his children kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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