Private Albert Edward George Leggatt

Regiment:  Royal Sussex
Service No:  TF/6526
Date and place of birth:  4th qtr 1890 in Petworth, Sussex
Date and place of death:  14 November 1916 in France

Family background

Albert Edward George Leggatt was the son of Albert and Ellen Leggatt. In 1901 he was 10 years of age and living with his parents and five sisters: Florence (12), Gertrude (8), Faith (6), Ethel (3) and Violet (2) in The Square, Midhurst, Sussex.  His father was a painter. In 1911 the family had moved to 1 Cussies Row, Midhurst, the household was still headed by Albert (42), a house painter, and with him were Ellen (47) and their children: Albert Edward George (20), a butcher, Kathleen Gertrude (19), Faith Elvira (16), a shop assistant, Ethel May (13), Violet Lily (12) and Richard William (9).  Also boarding with the family were Charles Henry Franci (22), a motor scout, and William Margale (23), a bread baker.

Florence Leggatt (21) had married Percy Steer (20), a house painter, in 1910 and in 1911 they were boarding with Thomas and Gertrude White at 5 Haven Terrace, Lion Lane, Haslemere, Surrey. Also listed is Christopher Percy Steer, aged 6 months.  Percy Steer also served in the war.

Military service

Albert Edward George Leggatt enlisted in Horsham and joined the 5th  (Cinque Ports) Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment. The Regiment was originally formed 1 April 1908 as a Territorial Force based in eight depots across Sussex and Kent. The volunteers would have been drawn from the surrounding villages and towns. In 1914 it was reorganised into a simpler force with four bases and its first posting was at the Tower of London in early 1915, followed by embarkation on 18 February on SS Pancras as part of the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Division. On arrival in France it moved to the Front and took part in the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9 May. On 20 August 1915 the battalion was transferred and became the Pioneer Battalion of the 48th (South Midlands) Division. The new ‘Sussex Pioneer’ Battalion joined the new Division on the Somme at Heruterne. During 1916 the 48th Division fought at the Battles of Bazentin Ridge (15 to 17 July), Ovillers (17 July), Pozieres Ridge (23 to 27 July). Ancre Heights (3 to 11 November) and Battle of Ancre (13 to 18 November).

Subsequently, the Division went to Italy and at the time of the Armistice were in Austria before returning to England in 1919.

Albert Leggatt was awarded Victory, British and 1915 Star medals.

Death and commemoration

Albert Leggatt was killed in action on 14 November 1916. He is one of thirteen Royal Sussex Regiment soldiers (of a total of 120) buried in Martinpuich British Cemetery, grave E22. He is commemorated on Midhurst War Memorial and Memorial Panels in Midhurst Parish Church.

Subsequent family history

Ellen Leggatt died in 1929, aged 66 and Albert in 1947, aged 79.

Florence Steer (nee Leggatt) died in 1966, aged 77

Richard William Leggatt died in 1992, aged 90.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project