Florence Nightingale served as a nurse in 1854-56 during the Crimean War and her experiences there led to pioneering work in improving medical care in the army and the professional training of nurses.
This recording was one of three made in aid of the Light Brigade Relief Fund, following public concern about the destitution of survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava in 1854. The other two recordings made by Colonel Gouraud, Thomas A. Edison’s representative in Britain, were of Alfred Tennyson reciting his poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ and one of the trumpeters who had sounded the charge at Balaclava repeating his call on the original bugle.
In a further gesture to raise money for the Fund, Florence Nightingale also presented Colonel Gouraud with a print of a painting called ‘The Return’ by Lady Butler showing the aftermath of the charge. The recording of Florence Nightingale became familiar after it was marketed as a 78rpm disc in 1935. This transfer has been newly made from the original cylinder, which was found to hold two different ‘performances’ of the same short speech.
When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore. Florence Nightingale.