Burges, Edward Travers

Major / South African Infantry

1877 - 1916

Edward Burges was born 13 August 1877, the second son of Daniel Travers and Alice, daughter of Benjamin Travers. His younger brother was Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Burges, V.C., D.S.O. (B 1887-1892).

Edward came to Winchester College from the Reverend C.R. Carr's school at Exmouth in September 1890 and was in B House, Moberly's. He was a House Prefect in 1895 and 1896, and in his last two years he played in OTH. XV and stood On Dress for OTH VI.

He left Winchester in the summer of 1896 and went to South Africa, where he enlisted in the Cape Mounted Rifles. During the South African War he was selected as Regimental Sergeant Major of the newly-formed Border Horse, and won the D.C.M and his commission for gallantry in action. Later he acted as Assistant Provost Marshal in the Stellenbosch district and raised and trained a special Service Squadron of Colonials. Soon after the conclusion of peace he was appointed to the Cape Police and became a Sub-Inspector in the Mounted Branch.

Burges took part in the engagement which resulted in the killing of Jacob Marengo, a leader of the revolt against German rule in German South West Africa (now Namibia). On the outbreak of war he was appointed Adjutant and afterwards Brigade Major of a detachment of the Imperial Light Horse, and took part in General Botha's campaign in South West Africa. At the conclusion of the fighting there he volunteered for the first South African contingent to sail for Europe. He served through the campaign against the Senussi in the western desert of Egypt as Adjutant to the 1st South African Infantry, was promoted Major and went with his battalion to France.

He was killed in action on 18 July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. The South African Infantry Brigade was ordered early on that morning to capture a portion of Delville Wood, which was still in enemy hands. The attack was successfully carried out but the position remained insecure. Major Burges was passing up and down the line urging his men to dig themselves in when he was struck by a shell and killed instantly.

His name had appeared in Despatches from all of the three theatres of war in which he served.

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