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Born near Kilmore, Victoria, Leslie Maygar grew up to be a fine horseman. At nearly 6ft, he sported a Kitchener moustache and lean, good looks. He joined the Victorian Mounted Rifles in 1891. Among the first Victorians to volunteer for the Boer War, he was turned down because of dental problems. But he managed to joined the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles. He won the Victoria Cross on 23 November 1901 when he rescued a fellow Victorian under heavy enemy fire.
He became a grazier at Euroa after the war, but also served in the Victorian Mounted Rifles in the 8th (later 16th) Light Horse. He was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain in 1905. When the 1st World War broke out in 1914, he was appointed as Captain in the 4th Light Horse. At Gallipoli, he was promoted to Major, and, in 1915, was given command of the 8th Light Horse. During the epic withdrawal from Gallipoli, he was left in command of the last forty men to be left in the trenches. This he felt was just part of his `usual good luck'.
Maygar VC led the 8th Light Horse during the Sinai and Palestine campaigns. On the same day as the famous Beersheba charge of the Light Horse (31 October 1917), now an acting Brigadier-General, he was bombed and machine-gunned by an enemy aircraft. Not found until after nightfall, he was weakened by loss of blood and died the next day.
L. C. Maygar was affectionately known by his men as `Elsie' Maygar.
Private Mark Lowenthal (No. 1353) served in the Boer War with the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles. His service was unremarkable, but he survived the war, without being wounded, and returned to Melbourne.
His son William Lowenthal, however, had a distinguished career as a Melbourne footballer. William played for The Bombers (Essendon) between 1930-35 and 1937 -- 73 games, 14 goals. He played for Fitzroy in 1937, 13 games, one goal. He was rated as one of the best half-back flankers of his time. He represented the State of Victoria in the 1933 Carnival [The encyclopedia of League Footballers].
Soldier Profile: No. 973, Shoeing-Smith Fred Martin
`I can tell you that it is a treat to get in one of these rest camps after being on the trek as we have had a rough time lately as the wet weather has set in & and the convoy gets stuck in the drifts a lot & very often we cannot get the wagons into camp & we have to go without blankets or anything else & stand in the rain all night till daylight any by jove it does rain here with a vengence. One trek we done from Volkrast to Utrecht it rained continually for four days & the roads were in a terrible state . . .'. [Letter to his wife: 8 October 1901].
John Frederick Martin was born at Cressy, Tasmania in late 1874 or early 1875. When he was five, the family moved to Melbourne in 1881. Fred, after the death of his father and family difficulties,was sent to live with a family atTalbot in the goldfields district.
He later became a blacksmith. He was a handsome 26-year-old when the Boer War broke out, and he enlisted in the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles as a Shoeing-Smith. In South Africa he was mainly based at Dundee, Natal. At that time the column to which 5VMR was attached patrolled between Vryheid and the Transvaal. The Contingent, like many other Australian units suffered from the harsh conditions. Shoeing-Smith Martin endured sleeping in mud and bogs without blankets or a tent. He contracted rheumatic fever and was returned to Australia on a hospital ship, arriving on the day the war in South Africa ended -- 31 May 1902. He was discharged on 14 July 1902 and returned to Talbot.
His health never recovered. He worked for a time as a wood merchant. Always looking for work and on the move, the family moved to Forrest, the small time logging town in the Otways.
Fred developed Tuberculosis, and the family had to move to various Melbourne addresses. He died in 1916 at the age of 42. He is buried with his wife Josephine (who survived him until 1943) at the Coburg Cemetery.
This information provided by his proud grand-daughter Vivienne Jones, who says: `Unfortunately there is no one left alive today who knew him personally'.
No. 1552 Private Percy Dargie, and Private John Edge
Captain Charles Hutton in South Africa. Immediately prior to departure for Australia, he was promoted Major and placed in command of the Regiment. Photos provided by his proud grandson, Andy Hutton. Charles Hutton also served in WW1. John Battista, another proud grandson, in 2010, identified his grandfather, Pte. Albert Winter No. 869, from a family photograph identical to the one above (left), as the soldier holding the Captain's horse.
National Archives of Australia (Victoria)
Public Record Office Victoria
Compiled by Craig Wilcox (AWM & NAA) and Ian MacFarlane (PROV)
Books about Australia's
part in the Boer War
(have a peek without leaving this site)