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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

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My Dad and I are researching his Grandad, Private Charles Sandford G/6525 who died on 08th May 1915  (age 38) (as officially recorded) or somewhere else it mentioned 13/05/1915? He is also named on The Menin Gate (which we visited on Saturday).


My Dad has got the 3rd Battalion Middlesex War Diary for this period Dec 1914 to May 1915 and also a Medal Card but would like to know what actually happened if possible and if there is any further service history about him as he has come across a brick wall. I thought I would try and help him.


We have just come back from a Battlefields Tour and it has ignited an interest in me. It is likely due to the loss of life suffered on 08/05/1915, the possible area of death might be in the region of the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge.


His son, Rifleman, George Henry Sandford 304325 died on 22/04/1918 (age 23) and was part of the 1st/5th Bn London Regiment (Rifle Brigade) attd 2nd/10th Bn London Regiment.

There may be a point where George passed his father (as passed down in a family story but this is very unsure but worth a shot) Charles ,or maybe also known as Charlie, during The Great War but we cannot find any enrolment registers to know when they enlisted / enrolled in the army. So we were also wondering if there was any information where the two regiments may have been in the similar area between Dec 1914 (when it is thought Charles was signed up) and Charles' death on 08/05/1915?


We were also wondering if the father was in India with the 3rd Middlesex Regiment or if he had just enlisted as a volunteer? and his first posting was to Belguim?


Dad would also love to know if any of their medals came up. Dad's Grandad died when his Nan was pregnant with his Mum so she never knew him, and although she had some brothers (Charles, Alfred, Frank and George) who are all now deceased, it is possible some history and commemorative items may have been passed down through their family lines and their relatives may also be researching about their relatives. The photo below was passed to my Dad from his cousin Bruce who was son of Alfred but Bruce is also now deceased.


The photo is of the Father, Private Charles Sandford. Died age 38.


Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Gt Grandad Sandford.jpg

Edited by Sam Shulver
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The photo shows a soldier in one of the branches of the Royal Artillery - eg RFA, RGA, etc:


Image result for royal artillery

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Thankyou Andrew, I have not looked at the badge as it is blurred in the photo copy we have here but will check closer when Dad goes home. Would you happen to know if the Middlesex Regiment 3rd btn was artillery? I'm sorry, so completely new to this and unsure of how the btns & regiments are structured. 

Many Thanks

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The Medal Index Card for Charles Sandford shows he didn’t land in France until the 2nd May 1915, so he didn’t serve in India with them. The G prefix to his service number indicates he was a wartime volunteer with one of the new Service Battalions so was probably part of a draft from one of those who were sent out to make good losses in the 3rd Battalion.


As he landed in a Theatre of War on that date he qualified for the 1915 Star as well as the Victory Medal and British War Medal. The plaque and scroll, (frequently known as the “Death Penny” because of the design), would also have been sent to his next of kin.


The 3rd Battalion were infantry not artillery.


The date range can be as a result of the army not knowing at the time when he might have died – so he might well have been last seen alive on the 8th and “missing” at the first chance the battalion had to make a formal roll call on the 15th.


It doesn’t look like there is a missing persons enquiry received by the International Committee of the Red Cross. You might want to take a look at his entry in the Army Register of Soldiers effects available on Ancestry. – I suspect it will probably say something like “Presumed to have died on or after the 8th May 1915”. (Sorry – I only have a free account to don’t get to see this sort of thing). The Government Probate service holds a soldiers will for him - it probably won't tell you anything more than can be gleaned from the Army Register of Soldiers effects - i.e. I leave everything to my wife, but it can at least be an (expensive) way to get his signature - he didn't actually sign his 1911 Census return as someome has completed it on his behalf.



The Regimental History in three volumes can be viewed on line. Volume 1 covers the period you are interested in.


A slightly jingoistic account can probably be found in Sir Arthur Conan Doyles History of the Great War. http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks12/1202561h.html


George Sandford’s Medal Index Card shows the Theatre of War he first entered as Egypt on the 1st September 1915. So other than qualifying for the 1915 Star, father and son’s war paths were very different. When George moved to France he may have visited the area where his father died and even potentially may have been stationed there but nothing more than that.


In my experience the actual Service Medal Rolls for the London Regiment are very detailed, but these can only be seen on Ancestry.


Once again, doesn’t look like there was any missing person enquiry received by the International Committee of the Red Cross. There is a contemporary book on the London Rifle Brigade but as it only goes up until 1916 it may well end before George joined them.


Hope that helps,



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Soldiers effects record ‘in action’ on 8/13-5-15 so some mystery regarding the date. SDGW also records KiA

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  • 5 weeks later...

George enlisted into 2/7 Middlesex Territorial infantry and the Battalion was sent to Gibralter initially for garrison duties before being sent to Egypt where it took part in the Senussi campaign. Then sent to France where Battalion broken up after outbreak of disease and men sent to various units as reinforcements. Large draft sent to 1st 5th Londons arriving on 3.7.16. Looking at the dates George sent back to UK almost certainly wounded at Leuze Wood on 10.9.16. On recovery sent back to 2nd 5th Londons; back to UK and rejoined 2/5th in November 17. 2/5th was broken up end January 18 and men sent to 28th 18th and 2/10th Londons which was in 58 Division.

In July 16 given LRB number 10951 and renumbered with 6 digit one in Feb 17.

Hope this helps; I believe there is a war diary for the 2/10th

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  • ss002d6252 changed the title to Can You Help Please - Private Charles Sandford G/6525

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