Edgar Gordon Makepeace 1887 – 1917

We continue with our series of histories about our local Diggers with this vignette on the life and loss of another young local soldier.

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Edgar:  sitting fourth from the left

From the day in 1857 when Thomas Tindale Makepeace and his wife, Hannah Fryar, moved to Moggill, their family history was quite remarkable. They left Gosforth in England and moved to Australia in search for a better life. Thomas Tindale quickly found work at the Redbank Coal Mines but, while working there he was in a severe accident that resulted in the amputation of one of his legs. Incapable of work as a coal miner, he turned to farming.

His farm was once described as‘a pattern of neatness and comfort – it had an air of the well-to-do and successful farmer’. Later, Thomas Tindal and his son Thomas Jnr became foundation members of the Moggill Methodist Church. This formed a steady relationship between the Makepeace family and the Moggill community and they became worthy citizens. Thomas Jnr later married Olivia Vance, and together they had 11 children, of which Edgar Gordon Makepeace was the third.

Edgar ‘Gordon’ Makepeace was an Australian soldier who served in the First World War. He was one of the 19 soldiers from the Kenmore–Moggill region in west Brisbane who never returned.

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Above: A collection of Edgar’s military documents


In 1906, when Edgar was 19 years old, his father, Thomas Makepeace, passed away. This brought great sadness to the family and community. Less than a decade later, Edgar enlisted for WWI three months after his younger brother, Arthur. On 17 May 1916, he boarded his ship, HMAS Demosthenes A64, and sailed off on his two-month journey to England. He trained for the 41st Australian Infantry Battalion until going to France on 24 November 1916. A little
later, back home in Australia, in March 1917, Paul, another brother, enlisted. Sadly, only a month later, Edgar was admitted to hospital with a gunshot wound in his left arm. In September of that same year, Edgar returned to the
frontline. He continued fighting for Australia until he was killed in action on 13 October 1917 in Ypres, Belgium. His final resting place is Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium.

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Above: Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium.

Although Edgar died young, his family had great pride in his achievements and bravery. Edgar Gordon Makepeace achieved some great things in his short life. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in March 1916. This means that he was one rank higher than a non-commissioned soldier. Edgar Makepeace’s name can be found on panel 134, on the Roll of Honour in the Commemorative at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Olivia Vance, his mother, and all the other siblings would have been devastated when they heard the news of Edgar’s death. However, rather remarkably, Edgar’s death might have inspired his younger brother, Arthur to continue fighting for his country in World War I and World War II, and surviving both.

The Makepeace family developed a strong relationship with the Moggill region. During this time, the family lived through some tragic events. Edgar was a brave soldier who risked his life for the security of his country. As one of the few war heroes from the Kenmore–Moggill region, his death had a significant impact on his family and community but, he will be remembered.