Saluting war veteran on his 100th birthday
David Edgar attributes staying active and a long and happy marriage to him reaching 100 years of age. In his typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, he will also tell you that the odd rum during his Navy days also played a part in his longevity.
A resident of the Carinity Hilltop aged care community in Kelvin Grove, David was born in Brisbane on 24 June 1922 and grew up in Spring Hill.
Like most of his generation, David was always active. He loved recreational fishing and revelled in sport. He played rugby league, table tennis, badminton, hockey, Australian Rules football and cricket, captaining his local team to a premiership.
Attending the cinema on a Saturday was a favoured type of entertainment. If one of his friends didn’t have enough money for a ticket the others would pass the hat around to ensure their mate could go.
As few people in the 1930s and 1940s owned cars, personal transport was usually a matter of walking or, at best, a push bike.
“In his teenage years when money was tight and walking everywhere was usual, dad once escorted a young lady home from the pictures to Chermside by tram. He’d naturally paid her fare but didn’t have enough for his return, so he walked the 10km home to Spring Hill,” David’s son Gary said.
After working at an engineering company, David joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1941 at the age of 18 years. During World War II, Able Seaman Edgar served aboard the ships HMAS Kybra, HMAS Koopa and HMAS Burnie.
The vessels sailed the waters off Australia, Papua New Guinea, China, Japan and Hong Kong in convoy escort, depot ship, minesweeping and anti-submarine patrol roles and the liberation of the Philippines.
After the surrender of Japan in 1945, HMAS Burnie was tasked to clear mines on the approaches to Hong Kong, resulting in its crew returning home to Australia six months after the war had ended.
“The thing that stands out for me is he never tried to side-step a deployment. A lot of places he dodged a bullet because he missed being deployed to a ship that was subsequently sunk,” Gary said.
After returning home from wartime service overseas David married Joan May ‘Peggy’ Godden, while wearing his Navy uniform. The couple had met strolling along the Corso at Manly when David was on shore leave in Sydney during the war. They had two children and were together for almost 70 years before Peggy’s passing.
David worked for a landscape gardener in Sydney and, after returning to Brisbane, was a storeman/packer for Woolworths and textile company, Coats Paton. The Edgar family lived in a home at Boondall which they built, and where David lived before moving to Carinity Hilltop in 2021.
The proud war veteran has maintained a strong commitment to his beloved Navy through involvement with the Naval Association and the Royal Australian Navy Corvettes Association.
David has four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren – and he still keenly follows cricket and rugby league.