Private, 241867, 2/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (formerly 2290, Royal Sussex Regiment)
Killed in Action north-east of Ypres, Belgium, 31 August 1917, aged 23
Buried in Oxford Road Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium
Grave Reference I.B.3

The grave of William Sands, Ypres

William Thomas Sands was born in Forest Row in 1894, the elder son of Thomas and Mary Sands. There is no sign of his parents having married in Forest Row, but a wedding between a Thomas Sands and Mary Hudson at West Ham in 1893 seems a likely bet, especially as Mary Hudson proves to have been born in Hartfield, which matches, along with the marriage year, with information from the 1911 census. Perhaps Mary had been in service in West Ham before her marriage. William's younger brother Alfred was also killed in the First World War.

In 1901 the family was living at Alpha Cottage, Forest Row. [This is in Chapel Lane, but the next houses on the schedule are Stone House Lodge, followed by Stone House - which is on Hartfield Road, so Alpha Cottage may have been at the bottom of Chapel Lane. Tudor Cottage - see below - is close by].

In the 1911 census William was enumerated as an apprentice draper, living with his parents, brother and two sisters at Sands Cottage, Forest Row. His father was a carpenter, born in Hartfield.

William enlisted at Horsham, Sussex. He served as a private in the 2/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (formerly 2290, Royal Sussex Regiment). The 2/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment was formed in Birmingham in 1914 as a second line battalion, but seems to have been incorporated into the 2nd Warwickshire Brigade, 2nd South Midland Division before being redesignated as 182nd Brigade, 61st (2nd South Midland) Division. It arrived in France on 21 May 1916.

William was killed in action north-east of Ypres on 31 August 1917. He was 23. The entry in the Remembrance Book in Holy Trinity Church, Forest Row states that he was killed north-east of Ypres and it is signed by his mother as M Sands of Tudor Cottage [Hartfield Rd] Forest Row.

Oxford Road Cemetery, Ypres

William was the only person listed in the Remembrance Book as having been part of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment; he was one of five killed at Ypres, although the only one buried at Oxford Road.

His father, Thomas, received two pay-outs of war gratuity in relation to William; the first, of £13 1s 5d in May 1918 and the second, of £14, in November 1919. Thomas was buried on 3 December 1926 from an address in Chapel Lane, Forest Row. Mary Sands was buried on 6 February 1965 from Upper Close, also Forest Row [this was one of a group of houses built as council houses between the wars, but now largely privately owned]. She was 92 and had outlived her son by 48 years.

Pam Griffiths