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Robert Learmouth Sandeman (1891 - 1916)

The story of Robert who died within days of the end of the Battle of the Somme when he was killed by a German prisoner he was guarding.

Robert was just a month old when he appeared on the 1891 census living at Lochlane Cottage, Monzievaird, Strowain, two miles from Crieff, with his parents and his five siblings, not to mention his 66 year old grandmother.

Ten years later in 1901, Robert and the family had moved to Drummond Street, Muthill (photo of their house on the right).  There were now seven siblings, including two under three.  It must have been cramped to say the least !

Robert worked at the Carluke Steam Laundry as a boilerman, fireman, stoker.  Presumably it was there that he met his wife, Catherine Pearson, who he married in 1911.  They had a son and a daughter, also called Catherine, before he left for the War. 

We know from the publication "Soldiers Died in the Great War" that he was residing in Carluke, just before he enlisted in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.  He was just 25 when Robert died on the Somme on 15 November 1916 ...... just three days before the battle ended due to the winter weather.  It is conjecture but The Battle of Ancre was taking place on the Somme between 13th and 18th November during which the German fortress at Beaumont Hamel was captured, and it may have been some of the 7,000 prisoners taken as a result of this offensive which Robert was guarding.  The Commonwealth War Grave at The Thiepval Memorial says :

SANDEMAN, ROBERT LEARMOUTH

Rank:  Lance Serjeant

Service No:  13194

Date of Death:  15/11/1916

Regiment/Service:  Scots Guards  2nd Bn.

Panel Reference  Pier and Face 7 D.

Memorial  THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

 

If the following story is true, why is Robert commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial without a known grave ? 

THE STRATHEARN HERALD: 25.11.1916
CRIEFF GUARDSMAN KILLED THROUGH TREACHERY -
SHOT BY A GERMAN PRISONER


Information has been received this week by Mr William Sandeman, burgh roadsman, Ramsay Street, Crieff, that his eldest son, Lance-Sergeant Robert Sandeman, Scots Guards, was treacherously killed by one of a party of Germans whom he and other guardsmen were bringing in as prisoners of war after an attack upon the enemy trenches on 15th inst. The deceased had been in front of the party directing the way when he was shot from behind. He was a tall, well-built young man of 25, and prior to enlistment was a laundry vanman, employed for some years at Carluke, where his wife and child reside.  He had been in the Army for nearly two years, but only proceeded to France about a month ago, having previously been retained in England as bombing instructor in one of the London training centres.  Two younger brothers are also serving with the Colours.

* ALSO COMMEMORATED ON THE CARLUKE WAR MEMORIAL, LANARKSHIRE

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

 

For an excellent synopsis of The 1916 Battle of the Somme see this link.


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