Queen's South Africa Medal : Lieutenant L C Maygar, Victorian Mounted Rifles
ID numberREL/05846.002
Collection typeHeraldry
TitleQueen's South Africa Medal : Lieutenant L C Maygar, Victorian Mounted Rifles
Object typeMedal
Makerde Saulles, George William
Place madeUnited Kingdom
Date madec 1902
Physical descriptionSilver
DescriptionQueen's South Africa Medal with four bars: CAPE COLONY; ORANGE FREE STATE; TRANSVAAL; SOUTH AFRICA 1901. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.
SummaryEdgar Leslie Cecil Willis Walker Maygar was born on his parents' property near Kilmore, Victoria on 27 May 1868. The seventh son of Edwin Willis and Helen (nee Grimshaw) Maygar, he was educated at Alexandra and Kilmore public schools. Later, in partnership with his father and brothers, he bought Strathearn Station, near Longwood, Euroa. A highly proficient horseman, he enlisted asa volunteer in the Victorian Mounted Rifles in March 1891.

With the outbreak of war in South Africa in 1899, Magyar was initially rejected for service due to dental problems before being accepted in the 5th Contingent of the Victorian Mounted Rifles (5VMR). On 22 January 1901, he was given the temporary rank of lieutenant for the period of his service. Embarking in Melbourne on 15 February 1901 the contingent reached South Africa the following month. The unit, part of the column under the command of British Major General S B Beatson, was soon involved in drives that were designed to deprive the roving bands of Boer guerrillas of support.

Three months after arriving, 5VMR suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Boers at Wilmansrust. The ensuing reprimand by Beatson regarding the conduct of the Victorians, and the findings of a subsequent inquiry continues to be a matter of contention. Following the incident the formerly good relations between the Australians and Beatson soured considerably, and in August the contingent was transferred to Natal under the command of Colonel William Pulteney.

Pulteney's column was charged with blocking the Boer General Louis Botha from bringing the war into Natal. On 23 November near Geelhoutboom, 5VMR came across a large group of Boers making off with hundreds of head of livestock. During the ensuing chase, a detachment of 5VMR was nearly flanked by the enemy. Sergeant Walter Cass of 5VMR related on his return to Australia that 5 men from 'C' Company were in a 'hot corner' with two parties of Boers closing in on their position.

Maygar, also in 'C' Company, raced forward and ordered their withdrawal. On returning, Saddler A J Short had his horse shot from under him. Maygar immediately went to his assistance, lifting him up onto his own horse before leaping up behind him and making for the rear. Before they could reach safety, the horse bolted and became mired in boggy ground. Maygar managed to extricate the horse and sent Short on alone while he proceeded on foot.

For his actions at Geelhoutboom, Maygar was awarded the Victoria Cross. He returned to Australia mid-year on board the 'Suevec', arriving in Melbourne on 3 September.

On his return to Australia Maygar resumed his pre-war occupation on the land near Euroa. With the outbreak of the First World War, on 4 August 1914, he immediately offered his services and within three weeks was appointed a captain commanding B Squadron of the 4th Light Horse Regiment (4LHR). Following training in Egypt, the regiment was sent to Gallipoli, arriving on 24 May as an unmounted unit. During the camapaign the regiment was deployed at Ryrie's Post , Lone Pine, Courtney's Post and Leane's Trenches. On 17 October, Maygar was promoted to lieutenant colonel and given command of 8LHR, a position he maintained until his death from wounds suffered as a result of a German aerial bombing attack at Beersheba on 1 November 1917.

Maygar is buried in grave number Q 82 of the Beersheba War Cemetery.