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The E.J. Boys Archive

Last amended 7.6.11. Information last added 30.1.2013.

1208, Sergeant Edward MARTIN — 13th Light Dragoons

Birth & early life

Born in the parish of St. Augustine's, Bristol, c.1823.


Enlisted at Hounslow on the 11th of November 1843.

Age: 20.

Height: 5' 10".

Trade: Draper.

Appearance: Fair complexion. Hazel eyes. Brown hair.


1851 Census

Piershill Barracks, Leith South, Midlothian, Scotland.

Edward Martin, 28, Private soldier, born Bristol.

Note: It has not been possible to consult an image of the original Scottish Census document. The above information relies on the transcription available 28.3.2012, which is not always accurate.

Members of the Light Brigade in Piershill Barracks at this time, who would later go to the Crimea, include 1127 William Cresdee 13LD, 1029 Joseph Gammage 13LD, 762 John Linkon / Lincoln, 1140 Robert Lowthorpe 13LD, 1319 Daniel Mahoney 13LD, 1367 Isaac Manning 13LD (appears as Isaac "Maussings"), 1208 Edward Martin 13LD, 1207 Benjamin Marshman 13LD, 1339 Thomas McBrine 13LD, 1341 John McCann 13LD, 1254 James Pamplin 13LD, 1424, 1424 Robert Stanger, and many more.

From Private to Corporal, 17th of September 1852.

Corporal to Sergeant, 1st of October 1854.

Wounded in action at Balaclava.

Sent to Scutari on the 26th of October 1854, having been "sent on board ship without being seen by the surgeon".

Invalided to England on the 21st of January 1855 aboard the "Orinoco". He was at Chatham Depot from the 12th of February 1855.

Sent on "Sick furlo until discharged" to Bristol on the 30th of June 1855.

Discharge & pension

Finally discharged from Chatham Invalid Depot on the 2nd of October 1855, as "Unfit for further service from vertigo and loss of incisor teeth of both jaws from shell wound received at Balaclava".

Served 10 years 325 days.

Conduct: "good".

In possession of two Good Conduct badges.

Aged 31 years 11 months on discharge.

He was awarded a pension of 1/6d. per day.


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


Attended the first Balaclava Banquet in 1875.

Member of the Balaclava Commemoration Society in 1877 and 1879.

Signed the Loyal Address to the Queen in 1887.

Further medal information archived.

Life after service

To live in Bristol on discharge.

He was still there in 1875, when he returned from the Balaclava Banquet held at Alexandra Palace (25th October 1875) to face trial for debt. Martin, clearly a colourful character, defended himself vigorously, seemingly to universal hilarity. Notice the frequent references to his military experiences, culminating in him saying he would "rather trust in the Russian guns" than to the "tender mercies" of his opponent in court.

Edward Martin in Bristol Court, Derby Mercury 1875. Click to enlarge.

"Edwin" [Edward] Martin's Court appearance in Bristol, as reported in the Derby Mercury, 3rd of November 1875.

The case must have excited general interest because it was also reported in the same way in "Sheldrake's Aldershot and Sandhurst Gazette" for 30th of October 1875 (on the same page as a detailed report of theBalaclava Banquet), and possibly in other newspapers around the country too.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Admitted as an In-pensioner at Chelsea Royal Hospital on the 1st of September 1884.

At the time of his entry into Chelsea Royal Hospital as an In-Pensioner he was aged 61, "had no wife, and his children were provided for". His character was "good" and he had previously been living in the Bristol Pension District.

Death & burial

Died at the Chelsea Royal Hospital on the 31st of March 1887.

Death registered

Edward Martin, aged 64, June Quarter 1887, Chelsea.

Two newspaper notices reporting Edward Martin's death in 1887.

Two newspaper notices reporting Edward Martin's death in 1887

(Click on image to enlarge)

Buried in the Chelsea Pensioner's Plot in Brompton Cemetery, London. No headstone was erected.

References & acknowledgements

Census information for 1851 and registration of death kindly provided by Chris Poole.

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For further information, or to express an interest in the project, please email the editors, Philip Boys & Roy Mills, viainfo@chargeofthelightbrigade.com