Biography

Birth date: 19 April 1890
Birth place: Australia: Queensland: Blackall
Death date: 27 August 1972
Death place: Australia: Queensland: Longreach
Final rank: Major
Service number: 1067 - First World War, 1914-1918
Q30753 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Units:
  • 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • 7th Australian Machine Gun Company

Edgar Towner (1890-1972) enlisted in 1915 and soon established himself as an outstanding soldier. Fighting in France, he was commissioned, won the Military Cross and was twice Mentioned in Despatches before receiving the Victoria Cross for the attack on Mont St Quentin. In the battle, constantly under fire, he undertook dangerous reconnaissance and bravely led his machine-gunners. At one point he personally captured a machine-gun and turned it on the enemy. After 30 hours' fighting he was evacuated, wounded and exhausted.

After the war Towner returned to rural Queensland, but served again in the Second World War. A pastoralist at home in the bush, he was a life-long bachelor.

Rolls and Awards

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 29 June 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Brisbane

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Cross

  • Unit: 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Cross

  • Unit: 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 7th Australian Machine Gun Company
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Unit: 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 7th Australian Machine Gun Company
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Military Cross

  • Unit: 7th Australian Machine Gun Company
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 7th Australian Machine Gun Company
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Collection Items

Photograph

044844

VICTORIA CROSS WINNERS FROM THE BOER WAR AND WORLD WAR 1 WHO GATHERED TO MARCH IN THE SYDNEY ANZAC DAY PARADE. BACK ROW LEFT TO RIGHT: LIEUTENANT (LIEUT.) J. ROGERS, SERGEANT (SGT) R. R. INWOOD, BRIGADIER A. S. BLACKBURN, SGT J. W. WHITTLE, SGT S. R. MCDOUGALL, MAJOR E. T. TOWNER, CAPTAIN (CAPT) A....

044844

J03070

FULL-LENGTH STUDIO PORTRAIT OF LIEUTENANT EDGAR THOMAS TOWNER VC MC.

J03070

J03070A

Portrait of Lieutenant Edgar Thomas Towner VC MC. He was awarded the VC following his actions at Mont St Quentin, capturing an enemy machine gun and twenty five Germans.

J03070A

J03075

1927-04-25. AUSTRALIAN VICTORIA CROSS (VC) WINNERS WHO TOOK PART IN THE ANZAC DAY MARCH IN MELBOURNE, WAITING TO ENTER THE EXHIBITION BUILDING, WHERE A COMMEMORATION SERVICE WAS HELD. LEFT TO RIGHT: CAPTAIN R.C. GRIEVE, 2ND LIEUT W. RUTHVEN, CAPT J.E. NEWLAND, 2ND LIEUT J. HAMILTON, LIEUT. A....

J03075

J03076

MELBOURNE, AUS. 1927-04-25. AUSTRALIAN VICTORIA CROSS (VC) WINNERS WHO TOOK PART IN THE 1927 ANZAC DAY MARCH. IN THE BACKGROUND ARE THE KING'S AND REGIMENTAL COLOURS OF THE A.M.F. BATTALIONS AND REGIMENTS. LEFT TO RIGHT:- CORPORAL (CPL) B.S. GORDON MM, CPL T.L. AXFORD MM, CPL J. CARROLL, SERGEANT...

J03076

P02939.035

Portrait of Lieutenant (Lt) Edgar Thomas Towner, VC, MC, 2nd Machine Gun Battalion. Lt Towner was awarded the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery, initiative and devotion to duty" on 1 September 1918 at Mont St. Quentin. During an advance Lt Towner single handedly located and captured and...

P02939.035

Private Record

Manuscript

Unveiling of memorial to Major Edgar Thomas Towner VC, MC, FRGSA, Blackall, 24th April 2009 and related proceedings

Bound copy of the unveiling of a memorial to Major Edgar Thomas Towner VC, MC, FRGSA at Blackall Qld on 24th April 2009 and related proceedings. Contains copies of messages by Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of Australia, and Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister of Australia, relating to the unveiling of...

MSS1953

Heraldry

Officers service dress trousers : Major E T Towner, 26 Battalion, Citizen Military Forces

Officers khaki service dress trousers. The trousers have a concealed button fly, side pockets and turned up cuffs. The waistband is notched at the back and has two buttons at the back and four buttons at the front for attaching braces. The centre back of the trousers has two fabric tabs, one with a...

REL/10963.002

Officers service dress tunic : Major E T Towner, 26 Battalion, Citizen Military Forces

Officer's khaki service dress tunic with Rising Sun collar badges and 26 Battalion colour patches on each upper arm. The tunic has shoulder straps with rank insignia for a major. There are two pleated breast pockets and two expandable pockets below the waist. Each pocket has a buttoned flap. The...

REL/10963.001

Timeline

Date of birth 1890-04-19
Date of embarkation 1915-06-29
Date of recommendation honour or award 1917-03-03
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-03-04
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-06-19
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-06-22
Awarded Victoria Cross 1918-09-01 For action at Mont St Quentin, France whilst serving with 2 Machine Gun Battalion, 2 Division as a Lieutenant
Date of recommendation honour or award 1918-09-09
Date of death 1972-08-27