- He was killed in Samoa during an insurrection there. He was married at 40, and died within a year.
Here is his service record as of 1898, the year before his death: "Born in District of Columbia, February 15, 1858. Entered Naval Academy June 6, 1873. Finished Course at Naval Academy June, 1877; "Plymouth" 1877; "Constellation" 1878; "Powhatan" 1879; graduated, June 18, 1879; "Swatara" 1879-82. Promoted Ensign June 1, 1881; ordnance duty, Naval Yard, Washington, 1882; Torpedo Station, 1883; "Galena" 1883; "Ossipee," 1884-7; inspector steel, new cruisers, 1887-90. Promoted to Lieutenant (junior grade), March 31, 1888; "Philadelphia," N.A. Station, July 1890 to June, 1893; lev of absence, June 1893, to September 5, 1893; in charge of Caravels, World's Fair, September, 1893 to December, 1893; Naval Intelligence, December, 1893-6. Promoted to Lieutenant, May 15, 1893; U.S.S. "Massachusetts," June, 1896; "Alert" January 1897, to date."
There have been two ships in the Navy named the "USS Lansdale," and they were each named after him. See the Lansdale family history by Edward Geary Lansdale on the "Maryland Histories" page for more about them.
Philip Van Horne Lansdale (15 February 1858 - 1 April 1899) was an officer in the United States Navy. Lansdale, born in Washington, D.C., graduated as Passed Midshipman from the Naval Academy 18 June 1879. Commissioned ensign 1 June 1881, he served on Asiatic, North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific stations. Promoted to lieutenant 15 May 1893, he became executive officer of Philadelphia upon her recommissioning at San Francisco 9 July 1898.
After visiting Honolulu for ceremonies which transferred the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Islands to the United States, Philadelphia, flagship of Rear Admiral Albert Kautz, Commander, Pacific Station, arrived Apia, Samoa, 6 March 1899. An unstable political climate, created by rival native factions and German presence, erupted into open hostility during the month. A combined American and British naval force sought to keep the peace, but natives attacked American and British consulates late in March.
A British and American landing party set out from Apia 1 April on a reconnaissance mission to drive off the forces under Chief Mataafa. With Lieutenant Lansdale in command of the Americans, the expeditionary force dispersed the natives. While returning to Apia, the force was ambushed and a brisk battle ensued.
While protecting the evacuation of a mortally wounded machinegunner, Lieutenant Lansdale was seriously wounded, his right leg shattered by an enemy bullet. Aided by two enlisted men, Ensign John R. Monaghan carried him until he dropped from exhaustion. Despite Lansdale's plea, "Monny, you leave me now, I cannot go any further," Ensign Monaghan remained beside the fallen lieutenant. With only one rifle between them, they were soon overrun by pursuing natives; both officers died on the spot. Seaman Norman Edsall and another sailor also were killed.
Two ships, USS Lansdale, have been named for him.
This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
One description of the incidents of his death can be found in Albert Gleaves, The Admiral: The Memoirs of Albert Gleaves, USN (California: Hope Publishing, 1985): 166-68.