SECOND LIEUTENANT CHARLES LE GALLAIS EDGAR
ROYAL NEWFOUNDLAND REGIMENT
26TH FEBRUARY 1917 AGE 26
BURIED: GUARDS CEMETERY COMBLES, FRANCE
Charles Edgar's inscription comes from the Book of Revelation and what sounds like a statement of despair turns out to be a message of hope and comfort for, in the new heaven and the new earth that is being revealed:
... the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring it their glory and honour into it.
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
Revelation 21: vv 23-5
And then again in the next chapter, the very last chapter in the Bible:
And there shall be no light there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Charles Edgar served in the Newfoundland Regiment, which means that his digitised records are available online and produce a mass of what would be otherwise undiscoverable material. The records reveal that Edgar was one of the original 500 Newfoundlanders to enlist, that he served in Gallipoli where he was wounded at the end of December 1915 - "Gunshot wound neck slight" and that having enlisted as a private he was commissioned on 5 June 1916, a week before he received the following telegram from Newfoundland:
Mother seriously ill, incurable; very anxious to see you. Do all you possibly can get home at once for couple of months. Mildred Edgar
The telegram was dated 12 June and on 1 July the Newfoundland Regiment was to take part in the great allied attack on the Somme. By some miracle Edgar was one of the very few survivors of the attack which saw a regiment of 780 officers and men go into action at 8.40 on the morning of the 1st of which a total of sixty-eight were available to answer their names at roll call the next day. The regiment were back in action on 14 July but by then Edgar was on his way back to Newfoundland where he had been given twenty-eight days leave.
He returned to the Front in September 1916 and was killed in action on 26 February 1917, the regimental chaplain telling his family that:
He was with a working party going towards the front line when a shell exploded, mortally wounding him. He died a few minutes afterwards having wished his men 'good-bye'.