Ernest Alfred Sandford was born on 20 October 1889 at Tadley.
His parents were Joseph and Ruth Sandford (née Englefield). Joseph was a ‘General Labourer’.
He was the youngest son of ten children: Esau William, Elizabeth Annie, Emily Ruth, Alfred George, Arthur Charles, Tom, Ada Mary, Alice Beatrice ‘Mary’, Ernest Alfred and Rosa May.
In the 1901 Tadley Census he was 11 years of age and living on the Heath End Road near ‘The Cricketers’ public house. In 1911 he is recorded on the Baughurst Census aged 21. He is still living with his parents who now reside at Hawkhurst Hill (Haughurst Hill). His occupation is listed as ‘General Labourer’.
The Sandford family were particularly associated with broom making and the rod trade. The latter was the growing and stripping of willow osiers to weave into baskets. It could be assumed that, in the main, Ernest’s occupation was probably in the osier beds along the banks of the River Kennet at Woolhampton and Aldermaston. There were rod yards throughout Heath End, particularly along Shyshack Lane, where the rods were sorted and stripped of their bark before being bundled and carted to the station at Woolhampton.
Ernest was the uncle of Tom Taylor (no. 25), who is also remembered on the Tadley and Baughurst War Memorials.
Ernest was unmarried.
Ernest served as a private in the 2nd Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment (service number 14915). Based on his service number, 14915, he probably joined the regiment in January 1915. He only served with the 2nd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment.
The regiment was heavily involved at Gallipoli, an eight month campaign fought by Commonwealth and French forces in an attempt to force Turkey out of the war. It was hoped this would relieve the deadlock on the Western Front in France and Belgium, and open a supply route to Russia through the Dardanelles and the Black Sea.
Ernest landed at Gallipoli on 15 June 1915. A draft of six officers and 360 men joined the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment on the peninsula on that day. At the time of Ernest’s death, the 2nd Battalion was involved in a series of attacks against the Turks at Cape Helles (Fusilier Bluff and Bomb Alley).
Ernest was killed in action on 1 July 1915. This is reported as a ‘Quiet day’ in the battalion War Diary – four men are listed as killed in action on this day in Soldiers Died in the Great War. His death is also noted in the Hampshire Regiment journal of August 1915.
Of the men remembered on Tadley War Memorial, George Garrett, Herbert Golding, William Monger, Alfred Rampton, Leonard Rampton, Ernest Sandford, Louis Stacey, Tom Taylor and George Warren all served with the Hampshire Regiment.
Ernest was killed in action on Thursday 1 July 1915, aged 25.
He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial [Panel 125-34 or 223-229 and 328], Gallipoli, Canakkale, Turkey.
He is also remembered on both Tadley (as A E Sandford) and Baughurst War Memorials.
Ernest was awarded the Victory medal, British War medal and 1914-15 Star. These would have been sent to his family.