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Richard Sandford


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Like his brothers George and Joe, Richard served in World War 1, however whereas they were in the army, Dick was a seaman, - ‘gunner, three stripes’. Stationed at Scapa Flow on the flagship of the Grand Fleet, Admiral Jellicoe’s battleship HMS Iron Duke he saw action aboard at the Battle of Jutland. Subsequently he was posted from big to little ship, to the destroyer HMS Swift.

HMS Swift was part of the offshore covering force for the 1918 raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend. By a coincidence another Dick Sandford, - no relation, won a Victoria Cross at Zeebrugge as captain of the submarine C-3.

During 1918 the Swift was also involved in the action involving HMS Broke in which its captain, (Evans), won a V.C. The Swift was damaged in this action and although it is not known if Dick was aboard at this time, Uncle Will did say that he was transferred to another destroyer, HMS Wishart, after the Swift was damaged.

His service on this vessel is uncertain in that Jane’s Fighting Ships for 1919 records that HMS Wishart was cancelled, presumably before being completed and commissioned!

After leaving the navy at the end of the war, Dick was out of work for eleven months before getting a job as a bricklayer. He became very proficient at this trade and in later years introduced and taught the trade to his son Ritchie.

Dick and his wife Emily (known as Em) moved into 28 Belton Road, Forest Gate, E7, next door to her parents, where they had two daughters Evelyn and Doris and a son Richard (Ritchie). In 1938, they moved a short distance away to 18 Skelton Road, Forest Gate, E7 where they lived throughout the war. During the blitz they had a close shave when a bomb destroyed a number of houses in Skelton Road and neighbouring Dunbar Road. The bomb fell between their home at No. 18 and the Wyatt Road end of the street.

Back in Belton Road, at No. 17 lived the Hottens who played a part in one of those curious family relationships. In October 1945 daughter Doris married Harry Hotten.

After Dick died in 1948, Em remarried, - to Harry’s dad Fred Hotten. The couple moved to live at a ‘prefab home’ at Porter’s Field, Leyton.

Information provided by Trevor Green.