Friends of Hastings Cemetery

Susanna & Archie Montague


In loving memory of Susanna beloved wife of Edward M Montague who passed away 26/11/1928 age 69 also of Archie their beloved son killed in action in France 9/9/1916 age 24.

Archibald was a private in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.  According to army records an Archie Montague, who was born in Melbourne, Australia, enlisted in Croydon on 1st March 1916.  He was a ship’s steward by occupation.  He was quite a slight man, being 5’2’’ tall and weighing 98 lbs.  One record says he joined the Suffolk Regiment but in other records his service number G/11260, place of birth, and date of death match our man.

The records also say he was a Derby Scheme man Group 1.  In 1915 recruitment to the army was falling sharply at the same time as the need for more men increased.  The government did not feel that the country would accept conscription and were trying to think of different ways to encourage recruitment.  Lord Derby came up with the scheme that men could ‘attest’ their willingness to serve and then be called up in groups as the need for them arose, but in the meantime continue with their jobs and lives until needed.  In other words it seems they could volunteer for conscription.  This was put into practice in the second half of 1915 but by the beginning of 1916 the government bowed to the inevitable and passed the Military Service Act allowing conscription.

Archie was the son of Susanna and Edward M. Montague.  Susannah came from Hertfordshire and Edward from London.  They married sometime in the 1880’s. The family must have lived in Australia at some point as both Archie and his sister Daisy were born there, she in 1891 and he is 1893.  In fact in the 1911 Census Daisy, although living in England at that point, was recorded as a resident of Melbourne.  In 1901 all the family were living in Willesden, where Edward was a watchmaker with his own business.  By 1911 Edward, Susanna and Daisy had moved to Dover.  Edward was a self-employed jeweller, Susanna was a tobacconist and Daisy was a milliner.  There is no trace of Archie but he could have been at sea if he was a ship’s steward.

By 1916 Edward and Susanna were living at 7 Manor Rd Hastings. Susanna died in Hastings on 26th November 1928 at the age of 69.