Biography of Private William Henry Sandall (52465)
7th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment
64856 North Staffordshire Regiment
Died 4th November 1918
- Name: William Henry Sandall
- Date of birth: 1899
- Place of Birth: Baston, Lincolnshire, England
- Date of Birth Registration: April – June 1899
- Place of Birth Registration: Bourne, Lincolnshire, England
- Name: William Henry Sandall
- DOB: 1859
- Place of Birth: Bourne, Lincolnshire, England
- Occupation: Platelayer railway
- Name: Emma Cunnington
- DOB: 1865
- Place Of Birth: Baston, Lincolnshire, England
- Marriage: 1883 Bourne District
Siblings: (Name), (DOB), (POB)
- Harriett Naomi Sandall, 1884, Baston
- Kate Sandall, 1886, Wilsthorpe
- James Richard Sandall, 1887, Wilsthorpe
- Alice Sandall, 1890, Wilsthorpe
- David Tales Sandall, 1893, Baston
- Hilda Mary Sandall, 1896, Baston
- William Henry Sandall, 1899. Baston
- Edith Emma Sandall, 1902, Baston
- Clara Cunnington Sandall, 1905, Baston
- 1901: William is living with his parents in Baston, Lincolnshire.
- 1911: William is living with his parents in Baston, Lincolnshire. The census gives him an age of 12 and he is listed as being at school.
- No marriage for William has been found and because of his age we can assume that he never had the opportunity to marry.
- Weekly Casualty List Tuesday 24th December 1918
Sandall 52465 W. H. (Peterborough)
- None found
Soldier’s Died In The Great War
- These records show that Private William Henry Sandall, 52465, 7th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment was killed in action on 4th November 1918 in the Western European Theatre in France and Flanders.
Effects Left To
- Father William
- The British Medal
- The Victory Medal
© Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials
© Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials
Military Service Timeline
It is not known what William did when he left school but we next see him appear in records joining the army when he was of the age of conscription (18) in 1917.
Like over 60% of all enlisted men’s records, Williams records cannot be found and It is most likely that they were destroyed in the London warehouse fire that claimed so many WW1 records in the blitz.
It can be calculated that William joined the Army around July 1917 from the War Gratuity payment that was made of £5 for his service. The service numbers of 64856 for the `north Staffordshire regiment and 52465 for the 7th Lincs hold no clues to narrow down a date.
In July 1917 William would have been 18 (born between April and June 1899) and therefore would have been eligible for conscription. This meant that any man between the ages of 18 and 41 from May 1916 had to join up for military service.
The influx of men this created in 1916 overwhelmed the Army’s traditional, join a local regiment and get basic training with them, philosophy and so in September 1916 they adopted the Army Reserve Training Battalion strategy. Men were sent to Reserve Battalions for basic training and on completion would be assigned a regiment and Battalion for their posting to the Front.
Typical training would have been three months and so after joining in July 1917 it is most likely that William was posted to the North Staffordshire Regiment. His medal roll indicates this but unfortunately does not say which Battalion.
There are two possibilities as to why he was in North Staffordshires but his final days were with the 7th Lincolnshire regiment.
The first is that he was assigned to the North Staffs and then on arrival in the camps in France would have been reposted to a Battalion that needed more recruits. The other course of action would be serving and wounded with his original Battalion and then on recuperating from his wounds would be assigned to a Battalion that was in more need of troops.
As there appears to be no Battalion mentioned for William anywhere and we have no casualty records then we have to assume the first scenario is most likely.
In this instance William most likely joined his battalion in the field around the end of 1917 but again without documentary evidence this is only a suggestion.
We only know that his last days were spent with the 7th Lincolnshire and so we will look at the Battalion diaries for his story in late 1918.
The 7th Battalion had spend most of 1918 in Northern France and were present at the battles of St Quentin, Bapaume, Amiens, Albert, Bapaume again, Havrincourt, Epehy and Cambrai.
Cambrai was in September 1917 and although it is most likely that William was present here and some of the other battles again without dates for his move from North Staffs to 7th Lincolnshire we cannot be certain.
We take up the Battalion Diary from October 1918 where from resting in Etricourt they moved up to the Hindenberg Line.
8th October 1918
Battalion moved to Hindenburg line in S 4. Battalion H Q in M.33.c.60.45. Battalion moved forward to N31.c and T1.a (57b S.W). Battalion H Q at Montecouvez Farm (N. 31. C).
9th October 1918
Battalion took part in attack made by V corps. 51st Infantry Brigade formed the centremost ground of the 17th Division – 32nd Division co-operating on. The right and 37th division on left.
Disposition of 51st Brigade – Lincolns on Right – Borders on left – Sherwoods in support.
The Battalion formed up for attack at 4.30am on line N27a.4.3 to T 3a.0.8 (57 b SW). Battalion moved forwards at 4.50am in a N.E direction passing through the advanced posts of the 21st division, who were holding roughly the libne of the Sargrenon River, at about 5.30am.
1st Objective – Walincourt inclusive. The Battalion passed through Walincourt and reached 1st objective without meeting any resistance.
2nd Objective – Road from O.13.d.55.00 to O.20c.20.00 This line was reached without opposition.
3rd Objective – Road from outskirts of Caullery through 0.15b & c to L’Epine D’Andigny Farm (O.21.a.8.3)
This objective was reached without coming into contact with the enemy.
4th Objective – The Battalion was held up by heavy rifle fire and Machine gun fire on the railway running through O.10.b & a and on the right by sniper and machine guns in the N W outskirts of Clary. The enemy appears to be holding the road through O.11.b & d thence through Clary with posts in houses in N.W. of village. D company lines the railway from O.11.c.0.1 to above O.17..a.3.5 with C company in support in vicinity of Sunken Road through O.16.b. Meanwhile A & B companies endeavoured to ?? Northern end of the village and outflank enemy in road O.11.b + d. The Battalion after being held up about 4 hours continues to advance and entered Montigny. The village was searched and found to be clean of the enemy.
5th Objective – An outpost line was established N.E of Montigny from Tronquoy (O.b.9.8) 57b SW.
To P1.a.8.6 (57b S,E) Battalion Headquarters in Montigny. During the night of the 9/10th the 50th Infantry Brigade passed through the outpost line of 51st Infantry Brigade which became Divisional reserve.
Captures – 15 Other Ranks and 2 Machine Guns
Casualties – 5 Other ranksKilled in Action, 40 Other Ranks Wounded in action.
10th October 1918 – Ref Map France 57b N.E
Outpost line withdrawn to billets in Montigny & Tronquoy
11th October 1918 –
Battalion in same area on Divisional Reserve. Fighting Strength 39 Officers, 882 Other Ranks
12th October 1918 –
Battalion relieved 6th Dorsets in J.16.d & J17.a&c. Battalion took over front line from K8a.8.6 to K9c.6.. Disposition of Battalion, B Company on right – D Centre – C company left – A in support. Battalion HQ at J.13b.20.45. 3 other ranks wounded in action.
13th October 1918
Platoon posts established E of Selle River. 9 Other Ranks Wounded in Action
14th October 1918
Continuous trench E of Selle River ? Along Battalion Front from J9C.7.1. to J8d.30.75. 2 Other Ranks Killed in Action 14 Other ranks Wounded in Action
15th October 1918
Battalion relieved by 7th E Yprks and moved to billets in Montigny. 54 Other Ranks joined from reception camp as re-enforcements in this unit. 2nd Lt Wilkinson and 1 other rank wounded in action.
16th, 17th & 18th October 1918
Battalion resting in same area
Battalion moved to assembly positions preparatory to attack. A&D companies N.W. side of road in J.18b.5.7 – B & C companies on S.E side of road at J.18b.5.5.
20th October 1918
Battalion took part in the attack made by V corps. The 17th Division attacked as left Division on Corps front. The attack on 1st and 2nd Objectives was carried out by the 50th Brigade. The Task of (our) 51st Infantry Brigade was to pass through the 50th infantry Brigade on the 2nd Objective and capture the 3rd and 4th objectives (see map attached).
Disposition of 51st Infantry Brigade – Borders on right – Lincolns centre – Sherwoods on left.
Disposition of 7th Lincoln Regiment – A Company right front, D Company left front, B Company Support Company and C Company Reserve.
Zero was at 2am, when the Battalion moved forward passing through the 50tyh Infantry Brigade on 2nd objective at about 3.50am. The attack was carried out behind a creeping barrage. The objective was captured and consolidated, a strong point was established at E28d.4.3. The Battalion, together with troops on flanks, was held up on this line. At 4pm a new attack on this 4th objective was carried out by B Company Lincolns and A Company Sherwoods on their left. The line was established on the 4th objective.
Casualties – 2nd Lt G.A.E. Ward killed in Action, Acting Captain C.R.Davey MC MM, 2nd Lts W.A. Moore, G.B Simpson, J.G, Harrison MC, J.A. Galletly wounded in action. Other Ranks Killed in Action 6, Wounded in action 88, Missing 7.
Capyures – 2 officers, 68 other ranks, 2 trench mortars, 10 machine guns.
21st October 1918
The battalion relieved in the line by the 12th Manchester Regiment (52nd Infantry Brigade) and marched to billets in Inchy.
22nd October 1918
Battalion in same area re-organising. Captain J Wildy & 2nd Lt H.C. French rejoined. Captain A Hartshorn and 2nd Lt H Bartlett joined, 30 other ranks joined.
23rd October 1918
Battalion in same area. Major J.G. Lawrence joined.
24th October 1918
Battalion marched to billets in Inchy. Major J.G. Lawrence 6th Bn Yorkshire Regiment
assumed command of the Battalion.
17th Division relieves 21st Division in line. 51st Infantry Brigade remain in Divisional Reserve and dispersed as follows:- Borders & Sherwoods in Vendegies-au-Bois, 7th Lincolns marched to F2c + F8a and garrisoned the Divisional main defensive line. Battalion HQ in Vendegies-Au-Bois. A&C companies later this day withdrawn to billets in Vendegies-au-Bois.
27th October 1918
B & D Companies withdrawn to billets in Vendegies-au-Bois
28th October 1918
Battalion in same area
29th October 1918
Battalion marched to Inchy to billets
30th October 1918
Battalion in same area re-organising and training. 2nd Lts A Cliffe, S Sheckell, F.R. Williams and J. Matthison joined. 79 other ranks joined
31st October 1918
Battalion in same area re-organising and training
1st November 1918 – France Sheet 57b 1/40,000
Battalion in billets in Inchy
2nd November 1918 – Sheet 51a 1/40,000
Battalion moved to Poix-du-Nord
3rd November 1918
Battalion moved to assembly position in X17c c & d preparatory to attack.
4th November 1918 – Sheet 51 1/40,000
Battalion co-operated in attack by 17th Division. 52nd Brigade to pass through to take 1st objective, the BLUE line east of Futoy. 51st Brigade to pass through to take the RED LINE, the line of the route Duhamel, the 50th Brigade again passing through and taking the GREEN line the
Line of the La Tapperie – Grande Carriere Road.
Divisional boundaries – Lines between X12 and X19 on the North and between X24 and X30 on the South but including the village of Locquignol.
We are lucky to have the officer’s report in full which describes the action in much more detail than the battalion diary.
The 7th Lincolnshire Regiment was ordered to attack in the centre with the Border Regiment on the right and the Sherwood Foresters to the left.
The Duke of Wellingtons Regiment of the 52nd Brigade were immediately in front.
At 17.30 hours on a dark and rainy night (3rd November) the Battalion moved from Poix du Nord to assembly trenches in X17c & d arriving in position at 21.00 hours without incident, though many casualties of the battalion in front were passed on the road.
Throughout the night the enemy shelled the trenches with heavy crashes of 5.9s and H.E., but did no damage and the men got some sleep despite the rain and cold.
Zero was at 5.30 hours on the 4th inst and under a heavy barrage the battalion advanced on a two company front, A company on right and C company on left, B company in support and D Company in reserve. The rain ceased but immediately after zero a heavy ground mist rose and this together with the 10% of smoke shell in the barrage very soon obscured everything.
The Battalion moved straight across the Englefontaine – Le Quesnoy Road close on the heels of the Duke of Wellington’s and waited in the orchards 200 yards beyond to give the later time to get forward. A few casualties occurred crossing the road.
After a pause of about 15 minutes the Battalion moved forward in a fog so dense that it was impossible to see a man 20 paces off. B Company moved away to its right in this and got lost for the time and touch was lost with both flanks.
As previously arranged the Battalion re-organised on reaching the road through S.20.a. & S.14.c. and was joined by a company of the Duke of Wellingtons which had got detached from its own battalion and took its place in support.
Moving forward again in the mist and deflected to the left by the numerous hedges the Battalion found itself as the fog lifted at Futoy village. 2 Companies moved down each side of the village keeping clear of the road which was at the time being shelled by our own heavy artillery with great accuracy and effect.
About 20 prisoners and a couple of machine guns were taken in the village.
The Blue Line was reached at 08.35 hours and the Battalion reformed at 08.47 hours. A company with D company in support moved across the open to S.22.d.1.3 thence turning N.E. up to the Route St Hubert. C Company moved through S.16.c & d along Laie Hecquet very little opposition was met with, a little desultory rifle and machine gun fire, with individual skirmishers capturing prisoners through the wood.
Ten field guns and 8 light machine guns were taken, and the Red Line was reached at 10.41 hours. About 120 prisoners were sent back.
After machine guns were dislodged on the right the Red Line was organised for defence and touch established on both flanks. B Company had meantime rejoined.
At 12.59 hours the 50yth Brigade pased through and at 14.17 hours two companies were sent forward to occupy Brown Line along the ridge through S.24.a.3.0., but as the advance had been held up, they were ordered to return and dig in on the Red Line.
Total number of casualties were :
Officers – Wounded – 2nd Lts W.T.Epton – A Cliff – S Sheckell,
Other Ranks – Killed 6, Wounded 105 – Missing 1
The 51st brigade occupied the Red Line until the morning of the 6th, during that period it rained continuously and what shelter the men had was very soon flooded out.
The Commonwealth War Graves or in those days Imperial War Graves Commission were responsible for the graves and many in filed burials were identified exhumed and then reburied in concentrated cemeteries. The Burial Return card for Romeries British Cemetery (communal Extension Cemetery) from February 1920 has a listing for William Sandall and so he now rests in this cemetery.
- WW1 Soldier’s Records (www.ancestry.co.uk)
- British Newspaper Archive.
- Fold 3
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- Forces War Records
- British Army Service Numbers
- War Gratuity Calculator
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- National Archives – Battalion War Diaries
- General Registry Office