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Thomas Edgar

Servicenumber : 3603439
Rank : Corporal
Regiment : Border Regiment
Unit : 1st (Airborne) Battalion
Date of Death : 24-09-1944
Age : 27
Grave : Plot 2. Row A. Grave 17.
Thomas 'Rocky' Edgar was a son of John and Margaret Anne Edgar, of Stanwix, Carlisle. He had 4 sisters called Alice, Margaret, Frances and Olive and two brothers called William and John. 
Edgar enlisted in the Border Regiment in 1941.
Corporal Edgar served with No. 8 Platoon, A Company. According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 2011) Edgar is known to have been fatally wounded when clearing the Dennenoord House, at the Benedendorpsweg in Oosterbeek, from enemy personnel. He was taken to a nearby Regimental Aid Post, where he subsequently died of his wounds. He was buried in the Oostbeek War Cemetery as an unknown soldier. His name is on panel 4 of the Groesbeek Memorial, which commemorates by name more than 1000 soldiers who died during the campaign in north-west Europe between the time of crossing the Seine at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in Europe, and whose graves are not known.
Eventually after more than 70 years his body was identified by the Recovery and Indentification Service of the Royal Netherlands Army and on 14 september 2016 Edgar, together with 5 other previously unidentified men of the Border Regiment received a rededication service (pictures of the service) and a named headstone was placed on his grave. 
The authors of the book 'When Dragons Flew' (Stuart Eastwood, Charles Gray and Alan Green) wrote about Thomas Edgar on pages 83, 84 and 164. Pages 83-84: "As Sgt J. Davidson and his group from A Company approached Sicily in Glider No 77, a considerable amount of flak greeted them and their tug immediately banked and headed out to sea. The Glider Pilot made a perfect landing on the water and all the men scambled out through a hole cut in the top of the fuselage by Cpl Edgar. Sgt Davidson organised his nine swimmers to take care of the five non-swimmers and the headed for the land. Together with Pts Elliott, he made it to the shore, but became separated from the rest. They soon found that they were within yards of an Italian position and had no choice but to surrender, confident that they would be freed to following day. The Italians looked after them well, although they took Davidson's 48-hours rations, waterbottle and compass; he managed to retain his map despite three further searches.
Eventually most of the glider party and other troops joined them. From their group only Pte Eagles lost his life. He was thought to have been drowned, but as he is buried in Syracuse Cemetery it is possible that he made it to shore; the other survivors included L/Cpl Stevens, Pte Birdsell, who had met up with some Staffords and fought with them, Pte Lane and Pte Marriott. They were escorted as PoWs along the main road to Syracuse later on the morning of the 10th and came under accurate Allied mortar fire. Davidson reported that 'we attempted to help te venture by a little fifth column work and started to tell the Italians that the English were all round the island and that they were completely surrounded. This seemed to affect them greatly, and eventually the majority came and surrendered to us; the remainder started waving white flags.' The prisoners were taken into Syracuse and Davidson's group headed back to the bridge, where they met Col Jones and other from the 1st Battalion."
Page 164: "Cpl Edgar was another great example, always in the thick of the fighting; if he thought there were Germans near, he would go off on his own and alwaus come back with good bag. 
At one stage the Company DS was overrun. This was located in the house known as Dennenoord, whose Dutch occupants had made it their responsibility to care for the woudned. Cpl Edgar re-loaded his Sten and entered the house, where he killed the majority of the enemy and chased the remainder out of the back door. Sadly, later in the day a wounded German officer managed to raise his pistol as he died and shot Cpl Edgar, who was killed instantly."  
Picture: 12-09-2016
Beloved son of
John and Margaret
Always remembered
Forever a hero
 
Picture: 14-09-2016
 
Sources: Website CWGC, 'When Dragons Flew', website www.gov.uk, website www.newsandstar.co.uk and Roll of Honour

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