Edmund Prideaux-Brune

(1898-1918) – Gifted composer

Inspired by the poem 'The Day' by Henry Chappell, gifted musician and schoolboy Edmund Prideaux-Brune set the words to music. When war came Edmund trained at Sandhurst and joined his father's old regiment. The life expectancy of a 2nd Lieutenant at that time was six weeks. Edmund survived for fewer than four…

Credit: Prideaux Place, Padstow and Bernie Pettersen, photographer

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Edmund was born on the 8thOctober 1898 at the Grange, Welwyn, Hertfordshire.  The youngest of three sons of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Robert Prideaux-Brune and his wife, formerly the Hon. Katharine Cecilia Knatchbull-Hugessen, he was to spend his chirldhood at the ancestral home of Prideaux Place, Padstow.  Photograph albums from the time show Edmund growing up in a carefree, idyllic setting, taking pony and trap jaunts to nearby Harlyn Bay with his brothers and sisters and playing with the family dogs.

In 1911 Edmund was chosen to be a page of honour to the Earl of Liverpool at the coronation of King George V.  Amongst Edmund's memorabilia at Prideaux Place are the photographs of the occasion along with his Coronation Medal and the red leather bound order of Service.

Educated at St Aubyn's, Rottingdean and later Gresham's before going up to Christ Church, Oxford, from an early age Edmund became a talented musician and taking inspiration from the poem 'The Day' by Henry Chappell he set the words to music.  Several more of his compositions were published including a Prelude in B flat minor for the piano.

The war was to end his promising future.  Edmund trained at Sandhurst joining his father's regiment The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade.  As a Second Lieuntenant he was, inevitably, posted to France to join the 3rd Battalion.  The life expectancy of a young officer at that time was six weeks, Edmund was to last for just four before he was killed in action aged 19 at Maisnil Bouche near Arras on the 22nd May 1918.  In March of the same year his older brother Fulke was seriously wounded and taken prisoner.

Edmund still remains a favourite son of Prideaux Place and every year on the anniversary of his death his mother wrote a poem in his memory.  His sheet music, the leather cigarette case he carried into battle with its silver family crest, his medals and many more treasured mementos can be seen at Prideaux Place. 

Key words: casualty, trenches

Credit: Prideaux Place, Padstow and Bernie Pettersen, photographer