Sunday, February 09, 2014

52 Ancestors: Sam Sandercock and His WW1 Tragedy

Amy Johnson Crow has a new challenge for geneabloggers called Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Amy challenges genealogists to write about one ancestor once a week. I'm having fun with this and I hope you are too!
WW1. 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles 52 Ancestors: Sam Sandercock and His WW1 Tragedy
The Sandercott Family 1916

One of my ancestors was Sam Sandercock aka Sandercott. Sam was born in Cornwall England in 1870 and came to Ontario Canada in 1887 on board the ship Parisian. Eventually he married Ann Jackson and they had 7 children - 6 sons and 1 daughter (my great grandmother).

Sam was a proud patriotic Englishman and when WW 1 started in 1914 he was all for it. He could not join the military in 1914 as men his age were not really wanted. The Military only wanted young fit men in 1914 but as the war dragged on and casualties mounted they were forced to start taking older and far less fit men. So Sam enlisted in 1916 even though he was 46 years old and not in the best of health. His two eldest sons, Cecil and Bill, were now of military service age, also enlisted and the 3 went off to war.

Sadly Bill was killed in August 1917 in France. He was just 19 years old. His brother Cecil was right beside Bill when he was killed, and Cecil's postcard to his parents is chilling in its brevity:

Just a few lines, hoping you are well. I guess you will have heard the news of my brother's death before this letter reaches you. Bill and I went out on a working party on the night of August 23rd. We were both together working when a shell lit in the trench. Bill was killed. I got a slight wound in the knee. I was lucky i was not killed too. 

Almost exactly one year later in August 1918 Cecil Sandercock was also killed during some heavy fighting near Boiry France. He was just 20 years old.

Sam himself never made it into the trenches. The damp cold conditions in England got the best of his health. He was invalided with asthma in 1916 and sent home to Canada in April 1917 as medically unfit. Such a sad tale for 3 family members to go off to war and only one returned. 


Janet Iles said...

How tragic that the two brothers were killed during the First World War. It would have been so difficult for the family.

Janice Nickerson said...

Ugh. So sad. And far too common. Thanks for remembering these brave men.

Brian said...

Janet yes their sister, my great grandmother never really recovered from losing her brothers.

Brian said...

Janice yes much too common. \and 100 years later soldiers are still dying

Simon Bird said...

I have come across a number of stories involving individuals from the same family dying during the war but never where a brother sees a brother killed. That must have been horrific for him. Do you know which battle it was that they were fighting in ?