Wayne County Veterans’ Spotlight: Edgar Bain

Edgar Hope BainEdgar Hope Bain was born in Goldsboro on January 20, 1884 to Theodore Howard (1855–1906) & Susan Elizabeth (1854–1925). His father was an insurance salesman and chief of the Goldsboro Fire Department. He married Agnes Louise Hobbs (1894–1978) and they had one child, George Edgar (1913–2000).

In World War I Bain was assigned to the 119th Infantry, part of the 30th Division. For his bravery in combat on October 9, 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1919.

Captain, U.S. Army
119th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division, A.E.F.
Date of Action: October 9, 1918
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Edgar Bain, Captain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Busigny, France, October 9, 1918. Advancing under heavy fire with orders to pass through the front line company, Captain Bain found the troops he was to relieve 1,000 yards from their position, falling back. Rallying them, he personally led the troops in advance, under terrific fire, assaulting and capturing the assigned objective.
General Orders 81, W.D., 1919
Home Town: Goldsboro, NC

1923 Goldsboro city directory
1923 Goldsboro city directory

On that day the 119th assaulted the town of Saint-Souplet. Intense German machine gun fire initially repulsed the attack but the 119th persisted and took the town later in the day.

Bain returned to Goldsboro in May 1919. He sold insurance like his father and served as mayor from 1919-1925.

In World War II he was called back into service and assigned to the 321st Infantry, part of the 81st Division.

After the war he returned to the insurance business. Edgar Bain died August 4, 1956 and is buried in Willow Dale Cemetery beside his wife.


  • Medals, Honors, & Units

You can determine quite a bit of a soldier’s military service from their uniform.

Edgar Bain medals

On the top row from left to right are:

  • Distinguished Service Cross – The second highest award bestowed by the US Army for extreme bravery in combat.
  • Silver Star – The third highest award for bravery in combat given by the US Armed Forces.
  • Mexican Border Service medal – Given to those assigned to protection duties on the US-Mexico border in 1916-17 during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Bain was an officer with the 2nd NC National Guard Infantry and served in late 1916/early 1917 near El Paso, TX.
  • World War I victory medal – Bain’s medal includes clasps for his service in the Somme and Ypres offensives during the war.

On the bottom row left to right:

  • UDC Cross of Military Service – Awarded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to soldiers with a direct Confederate veteran ancestor.
  • Officer Reserve Corps with 15 year service clasp.
  • Marksmanship badge – Awarded for completion of a weapons qualification course, in this case for the pistol. There are three levels of the award- Marksman, Sharpshooter, & Expert (lowest to highest). Bain’s is a Sharpshooter award.


321st infantry pin 321st infantry insignia pin 321st Infantry insignia

Above left to right:  The “321” denotes the 321st Infantry while the crossed rifles represent the infantry. On the shoulder is the crest of the 321st Infantry showing a wildcat (81st Division logo) and a pine branch representing North Carolina.



81st patch 81st Division shoulder patch US colonel eagle

Above is the left shoulder of Edgar Bain’s uniform. The shoulder patch is the 81st Division, the “Wildcats”. The silver eagle above denotes his rank, Colonel.


Previous WWI posts:

Andrew Best
Miles Faison Harris
Charles Rom Hardesty
Ezra Alphonso Mayo
Grover Summerlin
Camp Royster, Wayne County Fairground
John Burt Exum
Boys Battalion, 1905
Remembering the Forgotten Dead of a Forgotten War
North Carolina National Guard on the Border
World War I & North Carolina: 30th Division, 119th Infantry


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