Personal info

  • Name: Augustine Willington Shelton AGAR
  • D.O.B: 4th Jan, 1890
  • D.O.A: 17th Jun, 1919
  • D.O.D: 30th Dec, 1968
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant, HM Coastal Motor Boat 4, Royal Navy
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
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Sources & Acknowledgements

Kronstadt, Russia 17 June 1919

17 June 1919

After the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in November 1917, a British naval squadron was sent to the Baltic to assist the newly emerging Baltic states as well as anti-Bolshevik forces trying to capture St Petersburg (renamed Petrograd at the beginning of the First World War). In February 1919 Lieutenant A W S Agar volunteered to take two Coastal Motor Boats to try and re-establish contact with British agents in the former Russian capital. He based himself at Terrioki (now Zelenogorsk) on the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland, about thirty miles from Kronstadt, the Russian naval base on Kotlin Island, which guarded the approaches to St Petersburg at the head of the Gulf. At this point, the garrison at Krasnaya Gorka, a fort on the southern shore of the Gulf rebelled against the Bolsheviks and was shelled by ships based at Kronstadt. In an effort to help these rebels, Agar decided to take action against the Russian vessels. A sortie on the night of 16-17 June 1919 was unsuccessful but on 17 June, in CMB 4, he torpedoed the cruiser Oleg. Agar was awarded the VC. The Citation was deliberately vague so as to protect the secrecy of the operation, the Bolsheviks thinking a submarine had been involved. The two members of his crew, Sub-Lieutenant J W Hampsheir RNR andChief Motor Mechanic M Beeley RNVR, were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal. Between 10 June and 26 August 1919 Agar’s CMBs made nine trips to Petrograd, often carrying couriers. After his VC action, the Bolsheviks put a price of £5,000 on Agar’s head, but that did not deter him from taking part in the second Kronstadt raid in August 1919.

Citation

 The KING has been graciously pleased to approve 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. 

Sixth Supplement to The London Gazette of 19 August 1919. 22 August 1919, Numb. 31516, p. 10631

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