Heritage Guide to The Geelong College

Search the Guide

To find information in this Guide please select one of the green coloured options.

To Select a Page Group when displayed, right click and select 'Open'.

Copyright Conditions Apply.

EDGAR, Ronald Swan (1887-1917) +

EDGAR, Ronald Swan (1887-1917)

R S Edgar (War Service)

R S Edgar (War Service)

Ronald Swan Edgar was born at Kadnook Station, Harrow, on 20 February 1887, one of twelve children of John Thomas Edgar and Margaret nee Swan.

He was enrolled as a boarder at Geelong College in 1903. He later became a station overseer in Victoria, and Western Australia, before enlisting (No 108) in the AIF on 19 October 1914 at Guildford, WA. He embarked with A Squadron, 10th Light Horse, on HMAT A47 Mashobra on 8 February 1915, and served in Egypt, and on Gallipoli. His Commanding Officer wrote the following details for his Roll of Honour particulars on the AWM website:
‘He was reckoned one of the best scouts and bushmen in his regiment, and a crack shot, and his record stands high. Sergeant Edgar was a splendid type of Australian manhood, and by his jovial disposition and courageous manner he endeared himself to officers and men of the regiment. He has been an exceptionally keen and resourceful soldier, and by his quiet heroism and devotion to duty has made a name which will live in the history of the 10th Regiment.’

Sgt Edgar was killed in action on Sausage Ridge at the Second Gaza Engagement on 19 April 1917, along with ninety-three members of the Light Horse and the Camel Corps Regiments. Pte A J Clark gave particulars to the Red Cross Information Bureau of his death:
‘Informant gave me his initials correctly and said he was in C Squadron, a tall fine looking fellow, rather dark with moustache, about 36 years of age, he came from a well known squatting family in Victoria, he himself owned land in the North West of WA. Informant says Sgt Edgar was killed on April 19th, not on May 19th, as put in the book. Towards the end of the Second Gaza attack on 19th Edgar got caught by a machine gun and got peppered all over the body. Informant said he was very bad and had a very ‘bad chopping up’. Cpl Ainsworth of C Company told informant he had helped to carry Edgar to the 1st Dressing Station, a distance of half a mile from where Edgar got hit, Cpl Ainsworth told informant that Edgar never uttered a sound and died before they got him to the dressing station. Informant is almost sure Edgar’s body was buried the following morning on a raised bit of ground just behind the dressing station, all the graves there were fully marked.’

Edgar was buried the next day at Tel-el-Jemmi Cemetery, Grave 10, with Chaplain J P Denham officiating at the graveside. Two years later, on 16 April 1919, he was re-interred at Gaza War Cemetery, Egypt - Grave XX.D.14.

His youngest brother, Walter Edmund Swan Edgar (Old Scotch Collegian), served as a Private with 8th Light Horse on Gallipoli until the Evacuation. He transferred to 57 Battalion in France, where he was awarded his commission, and gained a Military Cross at Fromelles on 19/20 July 1916, when ‘during the following three days and nights he went out to No-Man’s Land with parties and brought in wounded under fire’. He was wounded at Bullecourt in 1917, but remained in France until the end of the war, by which time he had been promoted Captain.

His cousin, Lt Edgar Thomas Philip, Royal Flying Corps (Old Geelong Collegian), was killed on 18 June 1917 when his aircraft crashed behind enemy lines. He is buried in the Strand Military Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

The Harrow War Memorial lists the names of the five Edgar brothers, Ronald Swan Edgar, and his siblings, Ian Swan Edgar (1889-1984), OGC (Imperial Camel Corps), Walter Swan Edgar (57 Battalion), Otho Swan Edgar (10th Light Horse), and Waldene Philip Swan Edgar (1899-1978), OGC (Australian Cadets in England).

Sources: 'Geelong Collegians at the Great War' compiled by J. Affleck. pp33-34 (citing Australian War Memorial; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Photo Pegasus August 1917.
© The Geelong College. Unless otherwise attributed, The Geelong College asserts its creative and commercial rights over all images and text used in this publication. No images or text material may be copied, reproduced or published without the written authorisation of The College.