Edwin and his younger brother Ernest were born at Inverell to Charles and Sarah Egan. Ernest enlisted in Sydney in August 1915 when he was eighteen years old. He joined the 4th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement which sailed from Australia on SS Makarini on 1 April 1916. After arriving in Egypt where they trained for three weeks, his Battalion went to England then France.
In November 1916 Ernest wrote home saying ‘I went through the charge and capture of Pozieres and also was in the thick of it all at Monquet Farm … the stiffest proposition we have had yet – mostly bayonet work … Monquet Farm was to my mind a living hell …. Then we were sent to Ypres. At some parts of the front line we were only ten yards from Fritz … I have made several enquiries about Eddie but I can get no reply.’ (Inverell Times 20 April 1917) Ernest was wounded in 1916 and suffered from Trench Feet in 1918 when he was invalided back to England to recover. He returned to Australia in May 1919.
Edwin was twenty years old when he enlisted at Liverpool NSW in August 1915. He had served two years with the militia before enlisting. At a farewell held in Inverell he was presented with a wrist watch. He became a Private with the 3rd Battalion, 15th Reinforcement and sailed from Australia on HMAT A15 Star of England in March 1916. After arriving in France he wrote to his mother saying ‘I am now in the trenches … it is getting very cold here now’. Edwin was killed in action on 20 July 1916 at Fleurbaix, France during the Battle of Fromelles and buried at Anzac Cemetery, Sailly-Sur-La-Lys, France. The Inverell Times 19 September 1916 described him as ‘a fine big fellow’ and as being ‘good natured and kind hearted’ He had been employed in his father’s business before the War.
The names of the Egan brothers are recorded on Inverell’s World War I Honor Roll and Edwin’s name is inscribed on the Cenotaph. In 1919 he was one of the 215 men for whom a memoiral tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell.