The Egge Brothers

Rupert and William Egge were the grandsons of John Egge (original Chinese name unknown), a former seaman from Shanghai who had come to Australia as a young man in the 1850s and later made his living as a riverboat captain along the Murray and Darling Rivers. Rupert and William were born and grew up in the river town of Mildura – their mother died while they were still children and with their father apparently unable to properly care for them they and their sister Maisie were separated and placed with different foster families in the district. By the time that elder brother Rupert enlisted during the early months of the Gallipoli campaign in July 1915 he was a 23 year old cycle and motor mechanic. His complexion was described as dark, his eyes brown, and hair black. William enlisted in April the following year – he was 18 years old and described as a horticulturist. Likewise he was also dark and black-haired but with blue eyes. He had previously been rejected on account of his teeth, but not it seems on account of his racial background. Both brothers served in France, with some time spent in England. Rupert was in Egypt from March to June 1916 when he was shipped to France. In August that year he suffered a gunshot wound to side and back and spent most of the rest of the war at hospitals in England or on non-combat duty as an NCO. Rupert returned to Australia before war’s end in 1918, by which time he was serving as a Temporary Quarter Master Sergeant. His brother William was likewise wounded during his service in France and was frequently sent to hospital due to illness. After the war William’s health was never good and he lived his life as an invalid who was loved by his family as a kind and gentle man. Known by the nickname Mick, he changed his surname by deed pole to Edge – his descendants speculate that it was to hide links to the family’s Chinese heritage. His brother Rupert, who kept the family name, had a more mysterious fate: he was never seen again after leaving his family in 1936. His subsequent history is still unknown.

Egge兄弟鲁伯特(Rupert)和威廉(William)的祖父John Egge(中文姓名不详)于19世纪50年代从上海来到澳大利亚,之前是一名年轻的海员,后来在Murray和Darling河沿岸以当船长为生。鲁伯特和威廉就出生在河岸边的Mildura小镇,母亲在他们小时候就过世了,父亲无奈只好将他们和妹妹梅西(Maisie)分开并分别安置给当地的人家收养。1915年,哥哥鲁伯特应征入伍,他当时23岁,是一名摩托车技师。有描述说他的肤色偏黝,有着黑头发和棕眼睛。他在7月发起的加利波利(Gallipoli)战役的最初几个月就应征入伍了。次年4月威廉入伍,当时18岁,是一名园艺家。他也是黝黑皮肤黑头发,但有一双蓝眼睛。两兄弟都曾在法国和英国服役。1916年8月,鲁伯特在战争中身体两侧和背部受到枪击,于1918年战争结束前,回到了澳大利亚,当时他是一名临时军士长。弟弟威廉在法国服役期间也受战伤,并经常因为疾病送往医院。战后,伤病的威廉健康状况一直不好,他的善良和温柔受到家人的爱戴。大家用他的绰号米克(Mick)称呼他,他将自己的姓氏改成了Edge,他的后代推测他是为了隐藏自己的中国身世。鲁伯特保持了家族的姓氏,神秘的是,1936年离开家族后,他再也没有出现过。他后来的历史至今不明。

Next: Charles Roy Todd (Lee Suey 李瑞)

The Chinese ANZACs of the Loddon Mallee Region travelling exhibition is supported by the Victorian Government and the Victorian Veterans Council.