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Obituaries Australia

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Connor, Edward Richard (1846–1903)

It is not so very long since that the death took place of Commander Bosanquet, of N.S.W. N.A. Volunteers. On Friday the sad news was received in Sydney from Glebe Point that Captain E. R. [Edward Richard] Connor, C.M.G., was found dead in his bed, at his residence, Cook-street, Glebe Point. The news caused quite a shock in many circles, for the deceased captain was a popular officer and citizen. His long connection with the naval forces of New South Wales and Civil service had won him many friends. He leaves a widow, two daughters, and three sons.

The late Captain Connor had a long Royal Navy record. He was born in Kent, England, in 1848. He joined the Royal Navy in 1861, and was appointed sub-lieutenant five years later. In 1872 he was appointed lieutenant, and eventually retired from the navy in 1881. From 1864 to 1879 he was in the hydrographic service, and during that time was personally responsible for a lot of good work. He was engaged surveying in the Channel, in the Mediterranean in the Straits of Magellan, and off the Queensland coast. He had two years' detached service on the east coast of Africa in suppressing the slave trade; and was severely wounded in an engagement at Tierra del Fuego. After this he was for two years in the Royal Chartered British North Borneo Company's service, and had command of the Governor's armed yacht.

In 1885 Captain Connor joined the N.S.W. Naval Brigade, and was appointed a commander in 1891. Late last year, in consequence of the reorganisation of the local naval forces, he retired–being over the age limit–with the rank of captain. He went away from Sydney to China with the Australian Contingent. He was second in command, and carried out the arduous duties of that office in such a manner as to win for himself a C.M.G.-ship, as well as the praises of his men.

That he was popular with the men may be gathered from the following:–"He was as game as the British Lion; he had great pluck. Although a great disciplinarian, we all liked him. Here is an incident: During the forced march of the contingent from Tientsin, the men were all having a bad time; one of the officers was feeling very bad, and was inclined to fall out. Captain Connor heard of this, and immediately dropped to the rear, and said, "What's this I hear–can you fall out, when I, a much older man, am still up." With that he darted to the head of his men, and stepped out in a brisk fashion. It gave the men great heart, and they went on splendidly. The Captain, however, did not see it all through, for some time after he had to fall out. It was a very hard job for him, but sheer exhaustion compelled him, and the men saw it all, and liked him more and more for it."

One of the petty officers, in speaking of the Captain, said, "It's a great blow to us, he always took a great interest in us. He would work for us, do all he could for us. We will miss him very much."

The sons of Captain Connor are all sailors, and two are at sea at the present time, the other having just left an oversea steamer, in which he had been an officer. The youngest son only left Sydney a few days ago in a barque for the islands.

The late captain, who was the son of Mr. Alex. Connor, a master mariner, and was educated in Greenwich School, married, in 1872, Adelaide, the daughter of the late Mr. Arthur Wilcox Manning, then Principal Under-secretary in Queensland.

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'Connor, Edward Richard (1846–1903)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 October 2020.

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