23 August 2009

Victoria Cross: A. W. S. Agar


Lieutenant, Royal Navy; commanding HM Coastal Motor Boat No 4

Born: 4 January 1890, Kandy, Ceylon
Died: 30 December 1968, Alton, Hampshire

Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Victoria Cross to
Lieutenant Augustine Willington Shelton Agar, R.N.,
in recognition of his conspicuous gallantry, coolness and skill under extremely difficult conditions in action.

[London Gazette issue 31516 dated 22 Aug 1919, published 19 Aug 1919.]

Note: On 17 June 1919, Lieutenant Agar (whose first name is given in most places as Augustus, rather than Augustine) took HM Coastal Motor Boat 4 into the bay at Kronstadt, Russia. Penetrating a destroyer screen, he torpedoed and sank the Russian cruiser Oleg, then escaped under heavy fire. Apparently the paucity of information given in the citation was to protect Agar, as the Bolshevik government of Russia had offered a £5,000 reward for the perpetrator of this attack.
Having shown that Kronstadt could be attacked in this manner, Agar participated in a second attack on the Russian fleet. Seven CMBs took part in this attack, sinking the battleship Andrei Pervozvanny and submarine tender Pamiat Azova, and damaging the battleship Petropavlovsk. Two Victoria Crosses were awarded for this action - to Cmdr C C Dobson DSO and Lieut S G Steele - and Agar was one of four men who received the OBE; seven others received the DSC. (See London Gazette issue 31638, dated 11 Nov 1919.)
Agar was later commanding officer of the heavy cruiser HMS Dorsetshire when that ship was sunk by Japanese dive bombers in 1942.

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