Henry Sands was born in Atherstone in late 1882. His parents were Joseph Sands and Jane (nee Alcott) who had married at Atherstone parish church on 19th January 1881. Henry was the second of three sons. The family lived in Long Street, Atherstone where Joseph was a joiner.
On 28 March 1910, Henry Sands married Jennie May Knight at Welford. He was aged 28 and a groom/gardener. Jennie was a domestic servant. By the 1911 census they were living at 8 Orton’s Court in Rugby, together with their 10 month old son William Charles. Henry was a van driver/porter at a furniture store. Three more children were born: Edith in 1913, Lucy in 1915 and (posthumously) Winifred in 1917.
It is not known when Henry enlisted, but probably towards the end of 1916, judging by the birth of his last child in the third quarter of 1917. He joined the 1st/4th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment as a private (no 203316).
The Battalion took part in the Second Battle of Gaza, 17-19 April 1917, when the 1/4th and 1/5th battalions between them suffered 75% casualties, about 1,100 men.
Private Henry Sands died in Egypt on 17th June 1917, of diphtheria. He was buried at the Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, situated at Kantara East on the eastern side of the Suez Canal, 160 kilometres north-east of Cairo and 50 kilometres south of Port Said.
In the early part of the First World War, Kantara was an important point in the defence of Suez against Turkish attacks and marked the starting point of the new railway east towards Sinai and Palestine, begun in January 1916. Kantara developed into a major base and hospital centre and the cemetery was begun in February 1916 for burials from the various hospitals, continuing in use until late 1920.
Wording on his gravestone added by his wife was:
FATHER IN THY GRACIOUS
LEAVE WE NOW OUR LOVED ONE
There was an announcement published in the Rugby Advertiser, 22 June, 1918
SANDS – In ever-loving memory of my dear husband, Pte H. SANDS (HARRY), who died on June 17th, 1917, at El-Arish, Egypt.
” One year has passed since that sad day,
When our dear one was called away;
Bravely he went to duty’s call,
And gave his life for one and all.”
– From his loving wife and children
His wife, Jennie May died in 1958 in Coventry RD aged 68.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM