Edgar Henry Kirk Downes
Serial No. 3271
7th Light Horse Regiment
Edgar Henry Kirk Downes - Information
When the war commenced, Edgar was working as a farmer and resided on Glendow in Brownlow Hill. With him, was his lovely wife Regina Isabella, whom he married in Sydney in 1914. Edgar was born in Camden c1884 to Frederick William Arthur and Caroline Frances Downes. Edgar’s father, Frederick, was a Member of Parliament until 1913, and later became a Town Alderman. Edgar had gained military experience serving as a Captain in the 9th Light Horse in Camden for 11 years. The war would prove to have a significant impact on the Downes family. In 1915, his younger brother Rupert enlisted in the AIF. In February 1917, Edgar’s other younger brother George also signed up and left for war service. Edgar then gave up his Commission to join his brothers, enlisting in Brownlow Hill on the 5th of May 1917, aged 32. During training, Edgar was despatched to the 7th Light Horse Regiment as a Trooper, and left for war service from Melbourne onboard the HMAT Boorara on the 10th of May 1917. Onboard the ship, Edgar was appointed Provost Sergeant as they set sail.
Edgar disembarked in Suez, and was marched into the Isolation Camp in Moascar in late June. Here, he was appointed Acting Corporal until he was taken on strength to the 2nd Light Horse Training Regiment on the 26th of July. Two days later, he joined the 7th Light Horse Regiment at Shellal. At the time, the Allies were moving through Palestine. Edgar and his unit then participated in operations against Beersheba and Gaza. He was wounded, near Gaza on the 8th of November, receiving gun shot wounds to his left elbow and back. He was rushed to the 75th Casualty Clearing Station by the 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance. On the 12th, he was admitted to the 44th Stationary Hospital in Kantara, and the 14th General Hospital in Abbassia the following day. At the time, Edgar’s father was very unwell suffering a paralytic stroke. Miss Sibella Macarthur-Onslow, President of the Menangle Red Cross Branch, wrote the army on behalf of the family. His father subsequently passed away on the 3rd of December 1917. Miss Macarthur-Onslow informed the military, that there was nobody to manage the family estate, and she advised the army to allow Edgar to return home. They concurred, and in late December, Edgar boarded the HMAT Orontes at Suez bound for Australia.
When he reached Sydney, he was discharged and returned to Brownlow Hill. He took care of his father’s estate and the family property. To show their appreciation, Edgar and a few other lucky boys were given a welcome home social at the Foresters’ Hall in Camden in May. There was musical numbers, speeches and refreshments to celebrate their safe return. He and Regina began adding to their family with Diana, John and David. He also cemented ties to the community, becoming a member of the Camden Masonic Lodge, and member of the Camden Returned Soldiers and Sailors Imperial League of Australia Sub Branch. He later became a councillor for Wollondilly Shire and President of the Show Society. In 1953, Edgar was awarded the Medal of Buckingham Palace to be worn in commemoration of Elizabeth’s coronation. Sadly, two months later, Edgar passed away in Cobbitty on the 22nd of August 1953.