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Edmund Maurice Lardner Burke

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 10 AUGUST

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10 August 1917, Edmund Colpoys Lardner-Burke killed in action in East Africa.

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Edmund Colpoys Lardner Burke Gravestone

DID YOU KNOW

Edmund Colpoys Lardner Burke was the fourth son of seven of solicitor Henry Dionysius Lardner Burke KC and Frances Charlotte Lardner Burke (nee Bain) of the Eastern Cape, all seven being educated at St Andrews College, Grahamstown.

He was born on 30 August 1878, his father having emigrated from England in 1875 to take up the post of Solicitor General of the Eastern Cape. The family relocated to Kimberley in the late 1870s.

The seven sons were George, Gordon, John, Edmund, Henry, Charles and Herbert. The youngest, Herbert Francis, would become Secretary and later a Director of De Beers Consolidated Mines.

Edmund was at St Andrews college from 1890 until June 1898, departing with a BA in Literature and Philosophy. He was the Cape Colonial and South African pole vault champion in 1897.

Moving back to Kimberley he became clerk to the Judge President of the High Court of Griqualand West from 1898 until 1900 and was an attorney at the same High Court as from 1901. He became a partner of the attorneys Haarhoff, Hertog and Burke, still in existence today in Kimberley as “Haarhoffs”.

He married May Anderson (nee McLelland) on 5 April 1904 in the All Saints Church Beaconsfield, the union producing four sons, Desmond William (born 17 October 1909), Jack, John Henry and Edmund Maurice, and three daughters, Eileen, Mary and Violet. Desmond would be a Minister in Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Government, while Edmund Maurice would, like his uncle Herbert, command the Kimberley Regiment.

Member of both the Kimberley Club and the Kimberley Golf Club, Edmund Colpoys was also a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also a Director of the New Jagersfontein Mining Company and the newspaper the Kimberley Advertiser.

His most famous trial was the successful defence of Albert Alderson who was accused of the (unsolved) murder of schoolteacher Mary Healey in 1914.

Captain Edmund Maurice Lardner Burke was killed by an exploding German shell while serving with the 5th Regiment 2nd Brigade SA Infantry in East Africa on 10 August 1916, and was buried in the Dar es Salaam cemetery. He was one of ten men killed in the same action. (His brother Henry was also killed in action in East Africa on 20 June 1916 serving with the same Regiment).

At the time of his death, the family lived at 185 Dutoitspan Road, Kimberley.

His wife May is buried in the Dutoitspan cemetery.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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