The AIF Project

Edgar Thomas TOWNER

Regimental number1067
Date of birth19 April 1890
Place of birthBlackall, Queensland
SchoolBlackall State School; private education
ReligionChurch of England
AddressPurtora, Yelleroi, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 11.75"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs J Towner, Purtora, Yelleroi, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date4 January 1915
Place of enlistmentBlackall, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion, Transport Section
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 29 June 1915
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Machine Gun Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette, second Supplement, No. 30107 (1 June 1917); 'Commonwealth Gazette No. 169 (4 October 1917).

Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette' No. 30706 (28 May 1918); 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 165 (24 October 1918).

FateReturned to Australia 30 May 1919

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty on 1st September, 1918, in the attack on Mont St. Quentin, near Peronne, when in charge of four Vickers guns. During the early stages of the advance he located and captured single handed an enemy machine gun which was causing casualties, and by turning it on the enemy inflicted severe losses. Subsequently, by the skilful, tactical handling of his guns, he cut off and captured twenty five of the enemy. Later, by fearless reconnaissance under heavy fire, and by the energy, foresight, and promptitude with which he brought fire to bear on various enemy groups, he gave valuable support to the infantry advance. Again, when short of ammunition, he secured an enemy machine gun, which he mounted and fired in full view of the enemy, causing the enemy to retire further, and enabling our infantry to advance. Under intense fire, although wounded, he maintained the fire of this gun at a very crigical period. During the following night he steadied and gave valuable support to a small detached post, and by his coolness and cheerfulness inspirited the men in a great degree. Throughout the night he kept close watch by personal reconnaissance on the enemy movement, and was evacuated exhausted thirty hours after being wounded. The valour and resourcefulness of Lieutenant Towner undoubtedly saved a very critical situation, and contributed largely to the success of the attack.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 61
Date: 23 May 1919

Military Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. One of the first to reach the objective, he got his guns into action very quickly, thereby greatly asisting the right company in consolidating. He also brought a captured machine gun into action. When one of the infantry posts was badly blown in he went out at great risk and helped to re-organise it.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 23
Date: 12 February 1919

Discharge date16 August 1919
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Rejoined 25th Bn from Details, Tel el Kebir, 10 January 1916. Promoted Sergeant, 1 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 14 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 19 April 1916. Transferred to 7th Brigade Machine Gun Company, 3 November 1916.

Promoted 2nd Lieutenant, 18 November 1916; Lieutenant, 24 February 1917.

Mentioned in Despatches, 9 April 1917.

On leave to United Kingdom (date not recorded); rejoined unit from leave, 23 January 1918.

Mentioned in Despatches, 7 April 1918.

Awarded Military Cross.

Wounded in action, 31 August 1918 (gun shot wound, scalp); admitted to 5th Field Ambulance, 4 September 1918, and thence to 41st Casualty Clearing Station; by Ambulance Train No 6, 5 September 1918, and admitted to 2nd Red Cross Hospital, Rouen, 6 September 1918; discharged on leave, 14 September 1918, until 4 October 1918. Rejoined unit, 12 October 1918.

To School of Instruction, 3 November 1918; rejoined unit from School, 9 November 1918.

On leave in France, 29 November 1918; rejoined unit from leave, 12 December 1918.

Awarded Victoria Cross.

Commenced return to Australia on board HT 'Karagola', 1 May 1919; disembarked Sydney, 14 June 1919, thence to Brisbane; appointment terminated, 16 August 1919.

Medals: Victoria Cross, Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Also served in World War II as 2-i-c, 26th Bn, Citizen Military Forces.
Date of death27 August 1972
Age at death81
Place of burialLongreach Cemetery, Queensland

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