Edgar Copley Adams MID

From Our Contribution

Adams Edgar Copley.jpg
Adams Captain EC.jpg
The Westralian Battalion, N Browning, page 68
Personal Information
Date of Birth 13 Feb 1882
Place of Birth Laura, South Australia
Death 13 Mar 1968
Place of Death Northam, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 34 years, 3 months
Description 5'8" (1.73m) tall; weight 152 lbs (68.9 kg)
Occupation Railway station master
Religion Church of England
Address 157 Hamersley road, Subiaco, Western Australia
Next of Kin wife Mrs Edith Annie Adams
Military Information
Reg Number [1]
Date of Enlistment 7 Mar 1916
Rank Captain
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, Headquarters / 11th Brigade, 3rd Division
Date of Embarkation 6 Jun 1916 - 21 Jul 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A29 Suevic
Date of Return 28 Feb 1919 - 7 Apr 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A68 Anchises
Fate Wounded in Action 27 May 1918 at Villers-Bretonneux
Returned to Australia
Medals Mentioned in Despatches
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

On 14 Mar 1906 in Mundijong he married Edith Annie Rowett. Their son Edgar Mervyn was born in Mundijong in 1909, and died aged 11 in Armadale on 6 Jan 1921,when the bicycle he was riding crashed into a horse drawn cart. Edgar had previous served in the Militia with the 84th Infantry Battalion, including qualifying for promotion to 2nd Lieutenant.

Electoral Roll entries - 1903 - 1909 railway porter Mundijong; 1910 Brunswick Junction, night stationmaster; 1912 - 1914 Station House, Kamballie, station master; 1916 at 157 Hamersley road, Subiaco.

War Service

Edgar enlisted in Perth on 7 Mar 1916, and following some training sailed for England aboard HMAT A29 Suevic, having embarked in Fremantle on 6 Jun 1916. Edgar disembarked at Plymouth on 21 Jul 1916, and was sent to Larkhill to join the 44th Battalion as an original member. Edgar was appointed as the battalion's Signals Officer, and was with the 44th Battalion at Larkhill from 27 Jul 1916 until in August / September 1916 when he undertook training at the School of Instruction. He proceeded overseas to France via Southampton with the rest of the battalion on 25 Nov 1916.

On 30 Mar 1917 he was promoted to Captain and given command of 'D' Company. Edgar reported sick to hospital (debility) on 16 Sep 1917 and was sent on to the ANZAC Officers Rest House the same day until 25 Sep 1917. He was seen by the 15th Casualty Clearing Station, and sent on to the 39th General Hospital in Le Havre on 5 Oct 1917 with Syphilis. Discharged from hospital 20 Nov 1917, he returned to his unit on 3 Dec 1917 after 47 days ineffective service.

On 21 Apr 1918 near Vaux-sur-Somme at 10:45am a dogfight between German and British aircraft occurred above the positions held by the 44th Battalion. A German triplane pursued a British Sopwith Camel flew over their lines and considerable fire was expended in the direction of the German aircraft which soon after crashed in their area. With soldiers converging from all directions to take a piece of the plane as a souvenir, Edgar, who was one of a number of officers in the area, was asked by the battalion Intelligence Officer to post a guard on the plane's wreckage. When the pilot's body was removed and his documents translated it was discovered that he was Baron von Richthofen.

On 10 May Edgar was transferred from 'A' to 'D' Company, and as Company Commander of 'D' Company he was later to become involved in the battle for Hamel. Edgar was wounded in action on 27 May 1918 in the line near Villers-Bretonneux but remained on duty. The battalion was at the time subjected to a bombardment of High Explosives, phosgene and mustard gas shells.

As part of the carefully planned attack on Hamel, the 44th Battalion's role was to attack Hamel from the direction of Le Hamelet, advancing under the cover of smoke shells. They advanced either side of the village and set out for the enemy trenches on the heights behind the village that dominated the surrounding countryside. A minute later than planned by General Monash, the battle was over with the 44th Battalion on the high ground named Wolfsberg. They were to be the target of German artillery and snipers. That night they were attacked by German bombing parties who forced a 180 metre breach in the Australian lines. Edgar organised for a raiding party from surrounding units to attack the 200 or more Germans, succeeding by 2:30am the next day. Edgar was one of the many recommended for bravery awards for their role in the battle, but in his case he did not receive recognition.

Edgar was granted leave in England in Jun 1918, after which he was seconded for duty to the 9th Training Battalion at Larkhill. His records do not record when he rejoined the battalion in France, but Neville Browning's book on the Battalion notes that he departed France for England on his way home in middle February while the unit was at Cerisy-Buleux. His appointment was terminated on 26 May 1919 by the 5th Military District.

Award Comment

Mentioned in Despatches. "Work at Ploegsteert Wood on 30 Mar 1917."

" Commendation of Divisional Commander for meritorious and gallant service rendered, viz:- At PLOEGSTEERT on the 30th March, 1917, the enemy severely bombarded FORT BOYD with High Explosive. During the bombardment a Bomb store in the Fort was set on fire. Lieutenant E.C. Adams realising the serious danger that was imminent, at once went to the Bomb store, in spite of the fact that a number of smoke bombs were already alight and several Mills grenades had exploded, and succeeded in moving many cases of bombs to a place of safety. He scattered the remaining loose bombs and covered them with sand which happened to be there in bags. His prompt action and coolness in acting in the manner in which he did, not only saved the majority of the bombs, but averted what might have been a serious loss of life. He set a fine example of courage and devotion to duty."[1].

Post War

Other children were Joan, Rex, and Roma, born to 2nd wife Hilda Amelia, who was born 16 Jan 1919, and died 17 Feb 2004, aged 85.

In WW2 eDGAR served as a Captain with the 5th Garrison Battalion and at Western Command Headquarters. In 1952 Edgar made an application for a War Services Home.

Electoral Roll entries - 1925 Station house, Burswood; 1931 at 87 Forrest street, North Perth unemployed; 1936 - 1939 187 Rokeby road, Subiaco, store keeper; 1943 79 Stirling Highway, Nedlands, military officer; 1954 'The Meadows' York road, Seabrook, accountant; 1963 121 Chidlow street, Northam.


For a more complete story of Edgar's connection with the Baron, read pages 272 - 276 of 'The Westralian Battalion' by Neville Browning, Advance Press, 2004

  1. 3rd Division Routine Orders No 199 dated 30 Mar 1917

External Links