b. 19/04/1890 Blackall, Australia. d. 18/08/1972 Longreach, Australia.
Edgar Towner was born on 19 April 1890, at Glencoe Station near Blackall, Queensland, to Edgar Thomas Towner, a grazing farmer, and his Irish wife Greta (née Herley). He was educated at Blackall State School and in Rockhampton, although he also received private instruction from his mother. After leaving school Towner worked on his father's grazing property until 1912, when he acquired land of his own. He named the property "Valparaiso" and worked on its development until the outbreak of the First World War. On 1 September 1918, Towner was in command of No. 3 Section of the 7th Machine Gun Company during an attack on Mont St. Quentin, near Péronne.
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 critical 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 movements, and was evacuated exhausted thirty hours after being wounded.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, CANBERRA.
BURIAL PLACE: LONGREACH TOWN CEMETERY, LONGREACH, AUSTRALIA.
Edgar Towner's medals including Vc and MC are held by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
Edgar Towner VC's grave is marked on here at Number 17.
Courtesy of Anthony Staunton