Monday, September 08, 2014

SD/3427 Lance Corporal Albert Plummer, 13th Royal Sussex Regt

Albert Plummer was a baby of four months old when the 1881 census was taken. His father, Charles Plummer (29) was an agricultural labourer living at 2 Adams Cottages, South Street, Chailey with his 28 year old wife Caroline Elizabeth Plummer (nee Martin) and their six children. Charles had been born in Fletching, Sussex and his wife in Wivelsfield (also in Sussex). It is possible that the family had also lived in Wivelsfield earlier because the two older children, Clement (aged nine) and Charles William (aged seven) had also been born there.

Albert appears on the 1891 census, living with his family at South Street, Chailey. The family comprised Charles Plummer (now noted as 37 years old and an agricultural labourer), his 36 year old wife Caroline and their eight children: Clement Martin Plummer (aged 19, an agricultural labourer), Ebenezer Plummer (aged 14), Emily Plummer (aged 12), Albert Plummer (aged ten), Owen Plummer (aged eight), Alexander Plummer (aged five), Annie Plummer (aged three) and Laura Plummer (aged five months). Another son, 17 year old Charles William Plummer, was working as a cow lad and domestic servant for Thomas Farrant at Weavel’s Den, Chailey.

Ten years later, most of the family is still living at South Street (although some of the ages do not tally with the information given on the previous census return and there are some name variations). The family comprised Charles Plummer (aged 49 and now working as carter on a farm), his wife Caroline (whose age is given as 57) and seven children: [Charles] William Plummer (a 27 year old farm labourer), Albert Plummer (a 20 year old gardener), Owen Plummer (an eighteen year old brickyards labourer), Annie Plummer (aged 12), Laura N Plummer (aged 11), Dora Louisa Plummer (aged six) and Kate Elizabeth Plummer (aged three). Clement Martin Plummer, oldest of the Plummer children, was married with two children, living at 45 Church Street, Brighton and working as brewer’s labourer. Ebenezer Plummer had moved out of the family home and was living at 77 South Common with his wife Edith Mary (nee Jenner) and her 88 year old grandfather John Jenner. Fifteen year old Alexander was still in Chailey but not at South Street. He was working as a page at The Hooke, Chailey.

Chailey Parish Magazine first mentions Albert serving his King and Country in November 1915 when it notes him as a Private with the Royal Sussex Regiment in England. According to Soldiers Died in The Great War, Albert enlisted at Eastbourne. He was given the number SD/3427 with the 13th Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment. The SD part of Albert Plummer’s number refers to South Downs. The 11th, 12th and 13th Royal Sussex Regiment were also known as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd South Downs; Pals-type battalions which in time would find themselves assigned to a division (the 39th), with other Pals’ battalions. Chailey Parish Magazine first records Albert’s connection with the 13th Royal Sussex in December 1915, noting that he was in England.

By July 1916 it reported that he was in France and that same month, on Friday 14th July, The East Sussex News also reported that he was missing in France. Soldiers Died and The Commonwealth War Graves’ Commission’s (CWGC) Roll of Honour show that Lance-Corporal Albert Plummer died of wounds on 2nd July 1916. He is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery Souchez. Albert's name is recorded on Chailey’s war memorial and on the wooden panel inside St Peter’s Church. His name is also recorded on the stone tablet inside St Mary The Virgin Church, Westham, Sussex. The CWGC roll of honour notes that Albert Plummer was the son of the late Charles and Caroline Plummer (although they were still alive when he was reported missing) and the husband of Esther Plummer of 3 Andros Close, Chailey. Two of Albert’s brothers, Alexander Plummer and Owen Plummer, were also killed during the First World War; all three brothers being commemorated together on Chailey’s war memorial.

Medal index card courtesy of Ancestry.

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