Edgar was born on March 17, 1895 in Cambridge; he lived at 5 Chedworth Street, later moving to 42 Leys Avenue. He attended the Cambridge High School for Boys which we now know as Hill’s Road Sixth Form College.
Edgar returns to the UK on the December 21, 1915 and is posted to the 3rd Battalion. He is promoted to Acting Lance Corporal (unpaid) on September 13, 1916 and Lance Corporal (paid) on October 1, 1916. Reverting back to rank of Private he is then posted back to 1/1st Battalion in France on March 15, 1917, arriving in a draft of 26 men on March 21. Shortly after this his service number is changed to 325619 as part of an Army wide renumbering.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Though wounded in the assembly position for an attack, he carried the gun 4,000 yards to the objective, and dug in under very heavy fire. He was rapidly outflanked, and, all his team having been wounded, he remained behind and blew up his gun. He then fell back and joined the infantry, using his rifle to help repel the attack. He acted throughout the operation with great coolness and devotion to duty.
He was promoted to Lance Corporal (paid) on August 1, 1917, the day following the battle, and is still with the battalion at the battle for Tower Hamlets Ridge in late September. A month later on October 17, at an interview in the field, Edgar is recommended for a commission by the Commanding Officer of the Trench Mortar section, Captain Saville. This recommendation is endorsed by Brigadier Bellingham, Commanding Officer, 118 Infantry Brigade, who had overseen the Cambridgeshire’s attack at St Julien, and who had probably also endorsed Edgar’s DCM recommendation. Before he can leave for officer training though Edgar is wounded by a gas attack on October 29 and posted back to the Depot on November 8 and then on to the Reserve Battalion on January 21, just a few days before the official announcement of his DCM in the London Gazette.
Edgar is described in his application for a commission as having a good power of command and leadership, with Bombing and Trench Mortar as special qualifications and concluding that “he will do well in the field in command of a platoon”. His physical description was given as: fit, with good eyesight, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 10 stone 2 lbs in weight with a 36 inch chest. He joined his officer training unit on May 10, 1918.
Edgar doesn’t serve overseas again, with the War finishing in November, before he completes his officer training. His wedding to Gladys Margaret Thurlbourn at St. Barnabas Church on December 14, 1918, is reported in the local papers accompanied by a photograph of the happy couple, Edgar’s white Officer Cadet hat-band clearly visible in the photo. His commission is subsequently formally gazetted on February 11, 1919, with the Cambridgeshire Regiment. It’s worth noting that it was quite unusual for men to be commissioned into the same regiment, the logic presumably being that it was easier to command men who weren’t your friends, and didn’t know you from before your commission. For men wearing the ribbons of gallantry awards, especially the DCM, this logic is questionable; after all, who else might you rely on in battle as a leader more than someone who has already proved their worth under fire?
With the War over and the Army undergoing a huge reduction in size Edgar is disembodied under Army Order 42 of 1919. He relinquished his commission on September 30, 1921 but retained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. The announcement to this effect appears in the London Gazette of December 8, 1921. It is assumed Edgar returns to the family business and picks up his old life.
Edgar shortly after joining the Cambs.
Edgar after re-enlisting in the Cambs.
Edgar circa 1960.
This site went live on the 14th February 2015 to mark 100 years since the 1/1st Cambs went off to war.
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