Topic: Edgar Egidio Di Rago

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Edgar Egidio Di Rago (Service no. 39032) was a First World War soldier and former employee of Christchurch City Council

Edgar was born in Christchurch in 1894 to Antonio di Rago, an Italian immigrant from Naples, and Frances Esther de Rago. At the outbreak of the First World War, the family were living at 208 Madras Street.

He attended St Michael’s school.

Prior to his enlistment, Edgar was a cashier at the Christchurch City Council. He was also a member of the territorials and participated in athletic events.

On 4 August 1914 Britain declared war on Imperial Germany. In response New Zealand offered the services of an expeditionary force to assist in the war effort.

Edgar enlisted with G Company of the 22 Reinforcements on September 1916.

Edgar initially trained at Trentham where, during his training, he was admonished for ‘improper conduct’.

He departed New Zealand February 1917.

He arrived in Plymouth in May 1917. His unit then proceeded to Sling camp. On 2 May he was taken on in B Company 5th Reserve Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

In August 1917 while at Sling camp he was charged with being away without a pass in Salisbury. His pay was docked as a punishment. In that month he was transferred to A Company 4th Reserve Battalion of the Canterbury Regiment.

In September 1917 he left for France with his unit. There it camped at Etaples, a transit camp to prepare the soldiers for the front line.

In October he was transferred to D Company of the 3rd Battalion of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.

In December 1917 he fell ill with PUO or Pyrexia of unknown origin. This was later diagnosed as trench fever.  He was returned to England and in January 1918 he was admitted to Southwark Military Hospital. On 22 March he was transferred to the New Zealand War Contingent Hospital at Walton on Thames. During his recuperation there it was recommended that he be evacuated to New Zealand as he was no longer fit for active service.

In May 1918 he embarked for New Zealand onboard the hospital ship Maheno.

On 16 August 1918 he was discharged to his mother’s address, 208 Barbadoes Street.

In 1921 a stone memorial was erected to commemorate those old boys of St Michael’s School who had served in the First World War. Edgar’s name was among those included.

Edgar later became a member of the Returned Soldiers’ Literary and Debating Society. In 1923 he married Ruby Adeline Ebert.


Online Cenotaph record for Edgar Egidio DiRago. Auckland War Memorial Museum

Edgar Egidio DiRago 's military personnel file. Archives New Zealand (Archway)


Call for men’ SUN, VOLUME II, ISSUE 586, 27 DECEMBER 1915

St Michael’s School,’ PRESS, VOLUME LVII, ISSUE 17092, 12 MARCH 1921

Return soldiers’ debating,’ PRESS, VOLUME LXXIV, ISSUE 22341, 3 MARCH 1938

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Edgar Egidio Di Rago

First Names:Edgar Egidio
Last Name:DiRago
Place of Birth:Christchurch, New Zealand