Arthur Louis Edwards was born in Balmain in 1886 to John Louis Edwards and his wife, Rachel. He attended Armidale Public School where he served in the NSW Public School Cadets. Arthur’s father, John, died in Orange in 1909, aged 47.
Arthur was working as a Clerk for the Armidale Railway Service when he enlisted in August 1914. He was assigned the rank of Private and placed in the 1st Infantry Brigade 2nd Battalion, 1st Division AIF. He embarked at Sydney on the HMAT A23 Suffolk in October 1914 and disembarked at Alexandria in December.
In February 1915 Private Edwards was transferred to Brigade Headquarters at Mena. It appears that he proceeded to Gallipoli on 25 April, but his movements are unclear.
Arthur’s mother had not heard from him for some months and did not know of his fate. In September she asked the Archdeacon of Armidale, where she was living, to write to the War Office, requesting information. A reply to the Archdeacon’s request from the Base Records Office advised that “no official report that he was killed in action, or to any other effect, has been received”.
An entry in Arthur’s service records dated November 1915 notes that “he was temporarily attached to 1st Infantry Brigade Headquarters at Mena. When the Unit arrived at Anzac, he was ordered not to disembark from Transport. He was missed later during the day and nothing further heard of him. No 283 Private W. Edwards who was returned to Australia reported he had been killed in action on 26 April 1915. 2nd Battalion confirmed this report.”
The Armidale Chronicle reported Arthur’s death on 20 November 1915.
Arthur is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli and the Armidale World War I Memorial Fountain. He is also commemorated on his father’s grave in Orange Cemetery.
* Margot Sharpe, 2015