Biography

Birth date: 1886
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Ferntree Gully
Death date: 31 October 1917
Death place: Ottoman Empire: Palestine, Beersheba
Final rank: Trooper
Service number: 91 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment

Edward Randolph Cleaver was born at Ferntree Gully in Victoria in 1886. He attended Sale State School and later trained as a butcher. He enlisted at 29 with the Australian Imperial Force on 19 August 1914. According to his sister Adeline, Cleaver was the first man in the town of Sale to have enlisted. He departed Melbourne with the 4th Light Horse Regiment aboard HMAT Wiltshire on 19 October 1914.

Cleaver was deployed to Gallipoli in July 1915 and served there until the evacuation in December. He spent 1916 patrolling with his squadron around the Suez Canal in Egypt. Like many of the troops he wrote home regularly, sending photos of himself and his mates in their small canvas shelters in the desert. "The desert", he wrote, "was better than Gallipoli where they were being fired at day and night. In the desert we can get on our horses and ride into the distance to get away from the noise of war."

On 31 October 1917 Cleaver took part in one of the most famous actions of the First World War: the charge of the Light Horse at Beersheba. He was part of the first squadron to reach the enemy lines; his horse leapt over the first two trenches and then, as he dismounted to fight the Turks in the third trench, he was cut down by machine-gun fire.

Edward Cleaver is buried at the Beersheba War Cemetery, Palestine. Sadly, his father died just nine days later.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Trooper
  • Date of Death: 31 October 1917
  • Unit: 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 19 October 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne

Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

  • Rank: Trooper
  • Unit: 4th Australian Light Horse Regiment

Private Record

Cleaver, Edward Randolph (Trooper, 4th L H Regt d: 1917)

Collection relating to the First World War service of 91 Trooper Edward Randolph Cleaver, 4th Light Horse Regiment. Collection consists of letters, postcards from Cleaver to his family, photographs of Cleaver, and correspondence from others concerning Cleaver's service. The letters and photographs... Maker: Various

3DRL/4114 (With records)

Photograph

P05693.003

Graves of casualties including 91 Private (Pte) Edward Randolph Cleaver, 4th Light Horse Regiment (4LHR) who fell at Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917. The metal plate from the grave marker (to the right of the image) is held in the collection of the Australian War Memorial. This grave marker,...

P05693.003

P05693.002

Studio portrait of 91 Private (Pte) Edward Randolph Cleaver, 4th Light Horse Regiment (4LHR). A butcher of Sale, Victoria, he enlisted on 19 August 1914 and was described by his sister as the first man in Sale to enlist. He embarked on HMAT Wiltshire on 19 October 1914. Trooper Cleaver with the...

P05693.002

Heraldry

Grave marker placed over the mass grave for members of 4th Light Horse Regiment killed at Beersheba in 1917

Aluminium grave marker in two pieces, which are intended to be placed one above the other to form a whole. Each section has a hole drilled in its four corners, to allow it to be screwed to a decorative metal cross of local Palestinian manufacture, which can be seen in Photograph H02322. The upper...

RELAWM06330

Digitised Collection

Correspondence and photographs relating to Edward Randolph Cleaver, 1914-1918

Correspondence and photographs relating to the First World War service of 91 Trooper Edward Randolph Cleaver, 4th Light Horse Regiment. This collection of material includes letters and postcards from Cleaver to his family, photographs of Cleaver, and correspondence from others concerning Cleaver's...

RCDIG0000894

Timeline

Date of birth 1886
Date of embarkation 1914-10-19
Date of death 1917-10-31