29th December 1976
Ebenezer Le Page author GB Edwards dies
Gerald Basil Edwards was born on 8 July 1899 at Sous les Houges, Vale, to Harriet Mauger and Thomas Edwards, a quarry-owner. He moved to Bristol to study English in 1919, and from there went to London to teach literature and drama despite not having graduated.
Before moving to England, he had spent some time teaching on Guernsey, and served in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry from 1917. In that year he had been posted to Portsmouth to work as a gunnery instructor.
Edwards’ mother died when he was 25, when he was already living on the mainland. In his absence, his father sold the family home, which Harriet had bequeathed to Gerald, who had rejected it by tearing up her will. At this point, Edwards vowed never to return and, indeed, he never lived on the island again. Nonetheless, he wrote one of the most lauded books about Guernsey, The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, published posthumously in 1981.
A private man
Few records of Edwards’ life exist as Edwards destroyed as much as he could before dying. However, it is known that he lived in Switzerland and the Netherlands, as well as the UK, and that during and after the Second World War he took a job with the civil service.
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is his only novel-length work known to exist. He died of a heart attack in December 1976 and, following his cremation, his ashes were returned to St Peter Port. He had bequeathed the manuscript of the book to a friend before his death, who submitted it to several publishers over many years before he was successful in finding one who would print and distribute it.
In 2008, a blue plaque was erected on Hawkesbury House, Braye du Valle, reading, “G. B. Edwards, 1899 – 1979, author of The Book of Ebenezer Le Page lived here”.