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SANDFORD, George James (1872-1940)

SANDFORD, George James (1872-1940)

George James Sandford was born on 6 July 1872 at Duck Ponds near Geelong, the son of George James Sandford and Esther Anne, nee Reed. He was enrolled at Geelong College in 1887, and was in the Geelong College 1st Football Teams of 1887 and 1888.

He later played for the St Kilda Football Club in the VFL competition in 1901-1902 (11 games).

In 1892, he married Mary Swanston, daughter of Henry Edward Swanston and Emma, nee (Smith) Hewitt, and they lived at 'Gottar', Newtown, Geelong. At the time of his enlistment in World War I, they had eight children:- Mary Lily Sandford (1892- ); Violet May Sandford (1896- ); Dorothy Jessie Sandford (1890- ); George James Sandford (1902- ); Cecil Henry Sandford (1904- ); Joseph Redvers Sandford (1907- ); Sylvia Esther Sandford (1910- ), and Russell John Sandford (1913- ). They lost two infant children in the 1890's.

George Sandford served in the Anglo-South African War with Thornycroft's Light Horse. This unit's service was described by David Holloway in Hooves, Wheels and Tracks:
'The Second Australian Battalion was formed into part of the Brigade under Lieutenant Colonel H deB de Lisle, which in turn was part of Colonel A W Thorneycroft'sl Column. The Brigade, which also included the First Battalion, was at first known as De Lisle's Australian Brigade, and later, when a pom-pom, two guns of the Royal Field Artillery, and Thorneycrofts Mounted Infantry were added, (as) de Lisle's Column. The New South Welshmen, New Zealanders and Hasler's Scouts were also under Thorneycroft's command.'

Not long after the outbreak of World War I, he re-enlisted in the AIF in 1914, and embarked for Egypt on HMAT A10 Karroo on 11 February 1915 with C Squadron, 9 LH Regiment, where he was one of the Geelong Collegian Light Horsemen photographed at the Sphinx (page 198). This photograph was sent to the school by Major Ernest Albert Edward Gregory (1882-1915) (OGC), before he embarked for Gallipoli, where he met his death. Sandford was also at the graveside when Gregory was buried at Ari Burnu Cemetery, Anzac.

G J Sandford was invalided back to Australia on 20 October 1915.

He died on 25 May 1940.

His younger brother, 2nd Lieutenant, Percy Harold Sandford (1881-1918), 42 Battalion (OGC), died of wounds in France on 1 September 1918. He is buried at Hem Farm Military Cemetery, Hem-Monacu, on the Somme.

Three other brothers, Cecil Everard Sandford (1874-1946), Albert Edward Sandford (1877-1949), and Ernest William Sandford (1883-1959), were also educated at Geelong College.

1 Colonel Alexander Whitelaw Thorneycroft, CB, who became famous at the Battle of Spion Kop.

Sources: 'Geelong Collegians at the Great War' compiled by J. Affleck. p305 (citing The Pegasus; David Holloway, Hooves, Wheels and Tracks: The 4/19th Prince of Wales's Light Horse Regiment and its predecessors).
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