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George Frederick Sanford

  • 10135, Private, 1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • Killed in Action 29/30 October 1914
  • Buried at Sanctuary Hill Cemetery, Belgium
  • CWGC registered (Son of James and Kate Sanford, of 13 Mount Pleasant, Penrhynside, Llandudno)
  • Penrhynside casualty

George Frederick Sanford, the son of James Sanford and Catherine (Kate) Sanford (née Corrington) was born at Gateshead in 1890. In 1891, the family lived at 56 Tennyson Street, Gateshead, James Sanford being employed as a brass moulder. George was recorded as the youngest of four siblings, the others being Ellen, Minnie and James. Kate Sanford was born at Gateshead in 1894; Charles Henry was born at Manchester in 1897 and Albert Edward was born at Birmingham in 1899. In 1901, the family lived at 2 Quarry Cottages, Penrhynside; James (senior) being employed as a limestone quarryman and George Frederick as a scholar. Later that year, another daughter Florence M Sanford was born.

In February/March 1909, George Frederick Sanford joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Wrexham. With a regimental number of 10135, he joined the 1st Battalion RWF at Cork. The 1st RWF moved from Cork to Dublin in 1910 and the Census of Ireland for 1911 shows three soldiers with the initials G S, born in England and aged 20 serving with the 1st RWF at the Royal Barracks, Dublin. The battalion moved to Portland in 1912 and to Malta in 1914. George Frederick Sanford was on the nominal roll of the 1st RWF when it landed at Zeebrugge on 7 October 1914. The 1st RWF was under the orders of the 7th Division which had been formed in September and October 1914 of various regular army units withdrawn from duties in the Empire. The division was ordered to assist in the defence of Antwerp but when it arrived the city was already falling, and the division was ordered to hold a number of bridges to enable the evacuation of the Belgian army. After that, the division moved to the west where it became entrenched between Ypres and the advancing Germans.

George Frederick Sanford was killed in action on either 29 or 30 October 1914. At the time, the 1st RWF had been holding the line a few miles to the east of Ypres. His body unidentified, George Frederick Sanford was buried near where he fell. In 1931, George’s grave was exhumed, and his remains were buried at Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, his body being ultimately identified by both his regiment and his service number being printed on two pieces of boot.

 

Robert Frederick Sidebotham

  • 29622, Private, 20th The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
  • Killed in action, 12 October 1916, aged 28
  • No known grave (Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France)
  • CWGC registered (Son of Frederick Robert and Florence Harvey Sidebotham, of 2 King’s Rd, Llandudno, Carnarvonshire)

Robert Frederick Sidebotham was born in Worcestershire on 4 August 1888. He was the son of Frederick Robert Sidebotham and Florence Harvey Sidebotham (née Rickaby). Details of Robert’s early life are scarce though the register of St. George’s National School, Llandudno listed him as a pupil there in 1899. The Census of Wales for 1901 records Robert and his father boarding at 6 Jubilee Street, Llandudno – Frederick was employed as an ironmonger’s assistant. The record indicated Frederick Sidebotham as being married but the whereabouts of Florence Sidebotham remains unknown. In 1911, Robert boarded at “The Nest”, Penrhyn Bay and was described as a conductor on the electric tramway. The same census recorded his father as living at 2 King’s Road, Llandudno and again, he is recorded as being married. Clearly Robert’s parents had split for another census return records his mother, as Florence Harvey Rickaby, living alone in a flat in London. Robert was later reported as a driver on the Llandudno-Colwyn Bay Tramway.

Robert Sidebotham volunteered to join the army at Colwyn Bay, probably in May or June 1915. He joined The King’s (Liverpool Regiment) with a regimental number of 29622. Soldiers with close numbers were in the depot companies of the four City (Service) Battalions (17th-20th, the Liverpool Pals) which in August 1915 amalgamated into the 21st and 22nd (Reserve) Battalions at Knowsley Park. The four City Battalions, including the 20th, had disembarked in France in November 1915 – Robert joined the 20th as a reinforcement, probably at the end of March 1916.

Robert Sidebotham was killed in action near Eaucourt l’Abbaye during the Battle of the Somme on 12 October 1916 aged 28. He has no known grave.

 

James William Smith

  • Second Lieutenant, Royal Garrison Artillery, Mentioned in Dispatches
  • Died of wounds, 30 November 1918, aged 24
  • Buried at Chester (Overleigh) Cemetery
  • CWGC registered (Son of James and Gertrude Smith, of Wilfred House, Harcourt Rd, Llandudno. Born at Chester)

James William Smith, the son of James Smith, and his wife, Gertrude Smith (née Grice) was born at Hoole, Cheshire in 1894. In 1901, the family lived in Wolverhampton; James Smith was the manager of a bookshop. The Census of Wales for 1911 records the family as visitors to 11 Warren Road, Prestatyn; James Smith was now a commercial traveller and his sons James William and Reginald Horace were a railway clerk and at school respectively.

When James William Smith joined the army is unknown, but he disembarked in France on 19 December 1914. He was then a private in the Army Service Corps and his regimental number of SS/1539 indicates that he was in the Special Supply section which consisted of trades such as bakers, butchers and clerks. James was gazetted on 4 January 1917 as having been Mentioned in Dispatches in the rank of private (acting sergeant). He was discharged from the Army Service Corps on 17 March 1918 because he had been appointed a commission in the Royal Garrison Artillery.

It is not known when James took up his new duties in France, though it is recorded that he served with the 251st Battery. On 26 August 1918, James Smith received a gunshot wound to the right arm (according to his death certificate) and/or gunshot wounds resulting in the amputation of one leg, a severe fracture of his other leg, and injuries to his right hand requiring the amputation of some fingers (according to a contemporary newspaper report).

After being evacuated to England, James William Smith died of septicaemia and endocarditis following an operation at St. Thomas’ Home, Lambeth on 30 November 1918 aged 24. His body was taken to Chester and interred at Overleigh Cemetery.

James parents lived at Llandudno after the war but when they subsequently died, they were buried in the same grave as their son James in Chester.

 

Raymond Jack Leslie Smith

  • 16067, Private, 13th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
  • Died of wounds, 30 July 1917, aged 24
  • Buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium
  • CWGC registered (Son of Thomas T. and Elizabeth Smith)
  • Deganwy casualty

Raymond Jack Leslie Smith, known as Jack, the son of a former Liverpool shipwright, Thomas Torrey Smith and his wife Elizabeth Smith (née Nixon) was born at Deganwy on 4 July 1893. Thomas Smith and his family had moved to Deganwy in about 1879. In the Census of Wales for 1881, Thomas Smith was described as a gentleman, in stark contrast to his eldest son Albert who was recorded as an idiot from birth – Albert died the following year. In 1901, the family lived at “Deganway Villa” and Thomas Smith was described as a retired shipbuilder; seven children were recorded, the youngest of them being Jack. A newspaper dated January 1906 notes that Thomas Smith was the proprietor of a private hotel, opposite Deganwy railway station. On 30 September 1907, Jack transferred from Deganwy National School to Conway National School; the family’s address was recorded as Smith’s Hotel, Deganway. He left school in September 1908. In 1911, the family still lived at Smith’s Hotel (Private) – Raymond was employed as a brewery’s office clerk which is interesting because his home was a temperance establishment.

Jack Smith volunteered to enlist into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Conwy in early October 1914 and joined the 13th (Service) Battalion (1st North Wales) at Rhyl. Earlier RWF Service Battalions had been formed at Wrexham by the War Office but the 13th was formed at Rhyl on 3 September 1914 by the Denbigh and Flint Territorial Force Associations. However, around the time that Jack joined the battalion, the battalion was transferred to the Welsh National Executive Committee as a battalion within the proposed “Welsh Army” and it moved to Llandudno, eventually coming under the orders of the 38th (Welsh) Division. Jack Smith’s regimental number was 16067. The battalion moved to Winchester in August 1915 and Jack disembarked with his unit in France on 1 December 1915.

Little is known about Jack’s army service. The 38th (Welsh) Division took such a mauling at the attack on Mametz Wood in July 1916 that it did not go into action until 31 July 1917 on the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, otherwise known as Passchendaele. Jack Smith died of wounds aged 24 on the day before the attack and was buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery. The location is close to the west bank of the Yser Canal, north of Ypres, which is where the battalion was in the reserve lines on 29 July 1917. The battalion moved up to the front line on 30 July. There is no record in the battalion’s war diary of any casualties in the few days before the assault on 31 July.

NOTES

Jack Smith was predeceased by both his parents. A sentiment on his headstone was authorised by his brother Arthur TS Smith, a motor engineer based at Deganwy. The Smith’s Hotel is now named “Garrick Mansions”, a block of six apartments.

Jack Smith’s regimental number in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers was 16067. Arthur Edward Evans’ (qv) number was 16068 and William Roberts’ (qv) number was 16069.

 

John (Jack) Stallard

  • 310159, Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorial Force)
  • Died of illness after discharge, 26 October 1918, aged 26
  • Buried at Llanrhos Churchyard
  • CWGC registered (Son of Frederick and Rose Stallard, of 1 Victoria Yard, Back Madoc St, Llandudno)

John Stallard, the son of a barman, Frederick Stallard and his wife, Rose Stallard (née Jones) was born in Llandudno on 8 July 1892. The family lived at 7 Dylys Cottages (downstairs), Back Madoc Street, Llandudno. John was seemingly the third child but by1901, he had another four siblings and the family had moved to 3 Jones & Owen’s Yard, Back Madoc Street. John attended Lloyd Street National school but transferred to the new Dyffryn Road Council School when it opened in September 1905, his address now being “Conway View”, Alexandra Road. He left school on 16 March 1906. In 1911, John was employed as a hotel porter though by1913 he was working as an engine cleaner at Hillhouse Sidings, Huddersfield.

In May 1913, Jack joined the 5th Battalion of the West Riding Regiment (Territorial Force) with a regimental number of 2263. Less than a year later, he transferred to the Welsh (Carnarvonshire) Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorial Force) which had its ammunition column at Llandudno. His new regimental number was 446 (later 310159). Jack was mobilised on 5 August 1914 and the battery took up defensive positions in England; it proceeded to France on 3 March 1916 joining XXIII Heavy Artillery Brigade. From 27 April 1916 John was attached to the divisional ammunition column but on 23 October 1916 he was injured and concussed by an exploding shell during the Battle of the Somme. On 2 January 1917 he was posted to the 1/1st Lancashire Heavy Battery RGA but on 25 February 1917 he was returned to England. Having spent some weeks in the military hospital at Magdalen Camp, Winchester, he was discharged at Dover on 7 September 1917 as unfit for wartime duty, the reason being chronic suppuration of the middle ear. His home address was given as 1 Victoria Cottages, Back Madoc Street, Llandudno. He received a Silver War Badge number 238067.

On 1 January 1918, Jack Stallard married Mary Elizabeth Higgins of the Prince of Wales Hotel, Llandudno at Llanrhos Parish Church; John’s occupation was given as a railwayman. Sadly, Jack Stallard died of pneumonia following influenza on 26 October 1918 aged 26 at 1 Victoria Cottages. His occupation was now recorded as that of a hotel porter. He was buried at Llanrhos Churchyard. Jack and Mary Stallard’s child Mary L Stallard was born the following year.

Mary Stallard married William Evans at the Conwy Register Office on 26 June 1926.

NOTE

The War Grave Commission’s family contact was Jack’s mother. She and her husband are included in the Jack Stallard’s CWGC record and Jack’s wife and daughter do not get mentioned. No doubt the Commission contacted the next-of-kin details as supplied by the War Office and were not informed of Jack’s revised marital status.

 

John Stanford

  • 47271, Private, 10th Sherwood Foresters
  • Died of wounds, 27 July 1918, aged 27
  • Buried at Harponville Communal Cemetery Extension, France
  • CWGC registered (Son of the late John and Sarah Anne Stanford, of Dudley; husband of Mrs Stanford, of Sycamore Villa, Clarence Rd, Craigydon, Llandudno)

John Stanford was born in 1890 in Smethwick, Staffordshire, the son of John Stanford and his wife Sarah Ann Stanford (née Hadlington). John Stanford (senior) was a grate moulder and in 1891 he lived with his wife and six children, John being the youngest, at 8 Flood Street, Dudley. Ten years later, the family lived at 28, Watery Lane, Smethwick – John now had four younger siblings. In 1911, a widowed Sarah Stanford lived with five of her children at 334 Stoney Lane, Smethwick. John was employed as a moulder. He married Gertrude Fieldhouse in 1913 and their son John Eric F Stanford was born on 29 October 1913.

John Stanford enlisted at Smethwick. His service record no longer exists, and his first known service number was 47271 of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). Judging from soldiers with close numbers, John was called up in May or June 1916 and probably trained with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion. He disembarked in France later that year, joining the 17th (Service) Battalion which had landed in France on 6 March 1916. In February 1918, the 17th Sherwood’s disbanded though whether John was transferred on this date or earlier is unknown. In any event, he was posted to the 10th (Service) Battalion which had been in France since July 1915.

On a date unknown, John Stanford was wounded, and he died of his wounds on 27 July 1918 aged 27. In the days prior to his death, his battalion had been holding the line to the north of Albert. He was buried at Harponville Communal Cemetery Extension, the graves in which are burials dating from June to August 1918.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission records show that John Stanford’s widow lived at 4 Clarence Road, Craig-y-Don after the war. She was still living at this address with her mother in 1939 and died in Birmingham in 1966. John E F Stanford was killed in Egypt in 1942 whilst serving with the South African Forces.

NOTE

John or J Stanford is an uncommon name and the only soldier with that name who served in the Sherwood Foresters and who is recorded in Soldiers Died in the Great War and/or is registered with the CWGC is the John Stanford of this biography. No evidence of John Stanford living in Llandudno has been unearthed: his son was born in Warwickshire in 1913 and he enlisted at Smethwick in 1916. His widow moved to Craig-y-Don at an unknown date and her details were recorded by EWGC after the war.

 

Sydney Mark Sutcliffe MM

  • Second Lieutenant, Royal Welsh Fusiliers attached No 11 Sqn, Royal Flying Corps
  • Killed in action, 2 October 1917, aged 24
  • Buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France
  • CWGC registered (Son of Arthur and Rhoda Sutcliffe, of The Nook, 26 Roumania Crescent, Llandudno, Carnarvonshire. Born at Bradford, Yorks)

Sydney Mark Sutcliffe was the son of an entertainer, Abraham Sutcliffe and his wife Rhoda Polly Sutcliffe (née Tomlinson). Abraham Sutcliffe was known professionally as Arthur Sutcliffe. Sydney was born in Selby, Yorkshire in the spring of 1893 and was baptised at Selby on the 21 May of that year. About two years later, the family moved to Bradford and the 1901 Census records the family living at 29 Copthorne Road, Bradford. Local papers from 1906 onwards report on Mr Arthur Sutcliffe and his company of Pierotts (including, reportedly, the young Sydney) appearing at Llandudno’s Pierhead Pavilion. In the census record of 1911, the Sutcliffe family was recorded as residing at 63 Horton Grange Road, Bradford though a specific record for Sydney has not been found. The family was later recorded as living at “The Nook”, 26 Roumania Crescent, Llandudno.

In September 1914, Sydney joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers at Wrexham. He was posted to the 10th (Service) Battalion that was forming at the time with a service number of 15551. The 10th RWF was part of K3, Kitchener’s third new army. By June 1915, the battalion was at Aldershot and it landed at Boulogne on 27 September 1915. Sydney’s medal roll index card reveals that at the time of his disembarkation, he had been promoted to lance corporal. On 11 October 1916, the now Serjeant Sydney Sutcliffe was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry shown during a poison gas attack at Wulverghem on 30 April 1916. He was discharged from the ranks on 6 November 1916 and received a commission into, according to the medal roll, the 19th (Service) Battalion RWF. Whether or not Sydney served as an officer with the 19th RWF before he was attached to the Royal Flying Corps, serving with No 11 Sqn, is unknown.

Sydney Sutcliffe was killed in action aged 24 on 2 October 1917. He was an observer/gunner on a Bristol Fighter piloted by Lieutenant Justin McKenna. They took off from an airfield near Arras on a patrol over enemy territory and were shot down near Cambrai. They were buried by the Germans with full military honours including German crosses at the Bouchain Communal Cemetery German Extension. Their bodies were reinterred in 1920 at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez.

NOTE

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission records incorrectly that Sydney Sutcliffe was born at Bradford. Another Sydney Sutcliffe (without the Mark) was born in Bradford in 1893 but birth and baptismal records confirm that the Sydney Sutcliffe remembered in Llandudno was Sydney Mark Sutcliffe, born at Selby.

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