Thursday, August 21, 2014

Albert Agate, Royal Sussex Regiment & MGC

Albert Agate was born in Keymer, Sussex in 1870.  His birth was recorded on page 149 of the Cuckfield (Sussex) register (2b) in June of that year.
By the time the 1881 census was taken, he was living at 2 Shaftesbury Cottages, Lye Lane, Keymer.  His father, Alfred, aged 33, was noted as a Bricklayer Journeyman and his mother (also 33), as a Bricklayer’s wife.  The couple had five children: Mary (13), Albert, Henry (6), Ellen (4) and Alfred (1).  The census gives Albert’s birth year as 1871.
Twenty years later, the 1901 census records 29 year old Albert as a Farm Labourer and the head of his own household at Glebe Cottage in Streat, Sussex.  With him are his 26 year old wife, Sarah Louisa and their four children: Alfred Albert Agate (6), Daisy May (3), Florence Esther (2) and Henry Robert (5 months).

In July 1915, Chailey Parish Magazine notes that Alfred Agate sen was serving King and Country and in October 1915 the magazine adds the additional information that he is serving with the Royal Sussex Regiment in England. By January 1916 the magazine notes that he is with the 3rd Battalion.

In April 1916, the magazine notes that Driver Agate senior is with the 3rd Royal Sussex MG in England and the following month that information is updated to note that he is in France.  As the 3rd Royal Sussex remained a Special Reserve battalion in England, Albert certainly would not have served abroad with them but was probably transferred to one of the service, territorial or regular battalions of that regiment shortly prior to going overseas. 

The next information update in Chailey’s Parish appears in December 1917 when it states that Driver Agate (senior) is now serving with the 62nd Machine Gun Corps.  This information is repeated over the ensuing months until the list of Chailey serving men ceased to appear in July 1919. 
Albert's medal index card (above, courtesy Ancestry) shows his MGC number as 4956 and his Royal Sussex  Regiment number as 6938. G/6938 would fit with an enlistment date of late May 1915 (which would tie in with the announcement in Chailey Parish Magazine shortly afterwards).

Albert’s oldest son Alfred also served in the First World War and died eight days after the Armistice on 19th November 1918 at the age of 23.  His entry in the Commonwealth War Graves Register records that he was the son of Albert and Sarah Louisa Agate who, at the time of that entry, were now living at Godley’s Green, Chailey.

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