25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment

 Edgar Phillips

Edgar Phillips was born in Wandsworth in 1892 and grew up playing on the common. From an early age, he went off on his bicycle exploring the countryside in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. He decided early on that he preferred an open-air life to anything else and when volunteers were called for at the outbreak of WWI he joined a cycling regiment. He found it exciting to patrol the South Coast together with his mates in the 25th London Cycling Regiment. Some months training were also spent in Norfolk, before he was sent to India, where he spent four years. 

During that time, he also found time to sketch and paint, entering local art exhibitions in e g Madras and Jullundur, where several of his paintings were sold. He also became a prolific illustrator, designing cartoons for the regimental magazine, as well as advertisements for clients such as Asahi Beer, Oakes Cigars and others. In 1919, Edgar took part in the 3rd Afghan war. As he was known to have artistic talent, he was asked to pen out the Rawalpindi Peace Treaty; he sat up all night with an armed guard beside him and had it ready for signing the next morning. 

After his return to England, he cycled again to Norfolk, which he had grown to love while at training camp there, and that is where he met Helen, his future wife. Together they set up home in Banstead. Edgar had decided on a career as poultry farmer, in order to be out of doors as much as possible, but also to provide him with the freedom to continue with his painting. At the end of WW2, there was a great interest in Banstead in starting up activities in a community spirit. Edgar was, together with a handful of acquaintances similarly interested in the subject, one of the founders of the Banstead Art Group and became its first chairman. 


Edgar's photos of the Tank Flood.
Edgar's photos showing other soldiers.
Visit the online gallery of Edgar Phillip's works at: www.edgarsgallery.se
Books on Edgar Phillips' life and travels are available from: www.norkbooks.se (Publications)

[Biography and photos courtesy of Wendy & Martin Henningsson]


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