Percy SAGAR (SAGER)
Rank: Private
Number: 19180
Unit: 2nd Battalion SUFFOLK REGIMENT
Date of Death: 19 July 1915
Age: 27
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Percy's surname is wrongly spelt "Sagar" on the Cheadle War Memorial.

He had been born in Skipton, Yorkshire, but his parents, Arthur & Nellie, moved to Cheadle. They lived at Lewis's Café, Gatley Road, Cheadle. Mrs Sagar probably ran the café whilst Arthur carried on business as a photographer. They later moved to 11 Hilton Road, Harehills, Leeds.

Percy lived in Stalybridge where he also had a successful business as a photographer. In September 1914, he enlisted in Salford, joining the Royal Flying Corps. He transferred to the 20th Hussars (service no. 22346), before a final transfer to the Suffolks. This transfer probably took place when Percy had completed his basic training.

The Battalion had been in Belgium for only three weeks and was undertaking its second duty in the front line trenches, near Hooge (approximately 2 kilometres east of Ieper). On 19 July, a large mine was exploded under a German trench by 175th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers. The engineers had dug a tunnel some 60 yards in length and placed 3500 pounds of explosives . The spoil from the detonation threw up a lip 15 feet high around the crater - which itself was 20 feet deep and 120 feet across. The crater was immediately occupied by two companies of the Middlesex Regiment and sections of the Suffolks. British artillery prevented German attempts to recapture the area.

It is not known if Percy was in the group of Suffolks holding the crater or if he was in the reserve trenches. What is certain is that the Germans also brought their artillery into play and Percy was killed outright by a shell.

The crater can still be seen and visited today. Percy has no known grave but is possibly one of over 3000 "unknowns" who are buried in Hooge Crater Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. The misspelling of his name on the local Memorial is probably due to there being no family still living in Cheadle when names were collected.

(Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

   
           
   
     
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