Sando/w/es in the Crimea

Two Sandoes are known to have taken part in the Crimean War: William Sandoe (1825-1862), the Captain’s Steward on HMS Malacca, and Alexander Dingle Sandoe (1831-before 1857), a seaman on HMS Sanspareil, the guardship for the flagship HMS Agamemnon at Sebastopol.

William Sandoe grew up at St Blazey, Cornwall, where his father Elijah was a blacksmith and his mother Caroline had a grocer’s shop, while his brother Augustus ran the village inn. He was Gunroom Steward on HMS Sappho, HMS Mariner and HMS Albatross (1845-49) and Captain’s Steward on HMS Meander, HMS Boscawen, HMS Waterwitch, HMS Malacca and HMS Caesar (1849-1859). He married Elizabeth Bennett in 1859 at St Blazey, dieing there in 1862 (bronchitis and consumption). He was awarded the Crimean Medal with the Sebastopol clasp. His medal with contemporary engraving “Wm Sandoe HMS Malacca” was sold at auction in December 2004.

Balaclava harbour during the Crimean War. By James Robinson

HMS Malacca in Canada in the 1860s

Alexander Dingle Sandoe (about 1831-1857) was the son of Michael Sandoe, a butcher, and Mary (Dingle). His early life was spent at Carnon Downs in Feock, Cornwall, then nothing is heard of him again until the Crimean Medals were presented on board HMS Sanspareil in 1857. By then she was in the Far East and Alexander was no longer on board. His medal was sent home. His name is not on any casualty list, or on the Sanspareil Chinese Station memorial at Hongkong. The task of the Sanspareil at Sebastopol was to cover the flagship HMS Agamemnon. Naval personnel were also ashore manning batteries.

The flagship HMS Agamennon (right) and her cover HMS Sans Pareil (left) at the Battle of Sebastopol Forts 17 Oct 1854.

HMS Sanspareil after the bombardment (Illustrated London News)

A naval battery at Sebastopol, Coloured lithograph, National Maritime Museum

A burial at Balaclava. Watercolour by By William Simpson. The paintings were lithographed in London by Day & Day, and published in an album.

The Crimea Medal, silver with blue and yellow ribbon, was a campaign medal awarded to all army, RN and marine personnel who took part in the Crimean war. Clasps were awarded to personnel who were active in the battles of Balaklava, Inkermann and Sebastopol. The naval brigade participated at Balaklava and Inkermann. The fleet also fought in the Sea of Azoff, and RN and marine personnel were also awarded the Azoff clasp. These medals were not issued with names engraved. Some were engraved subsequently by the holder, or even later (dated by the style of lettering).

Crimea Medal with Sebastopol clasp, 1854 (not Alexander’s or William’s)

Were Alexander and William related? Not since 1700 at least. Alexender, like my own family, descended from Anthony Sandow (a tinner, about 1700-1742) and Gertrude Pengrowse, (about 1700-1786) who were married in 1728 and who lived in the vicinity of Chacewater in Cornwall. William descended from Francis Sandoe (a tinner, 1728-1796) and Avis Morecome (1730-1777), who were married in 1754 and who lived at Twelveheads and Chacewater in Cornwall. Francis was in turn the son of an unidentified John Sandoe who was born around 1700. Beyond 1700 the records are too vague for positive identifications. If one takes a deep breath and remembers there were very few Sando/w/e/s in Cornwall (only a handful were old enough to swear the Protestation of allegiance to parliament in the 1640s, or muster in various armed militias), both lines can be traced back to William Sandow (blacksmith, about 1580-1659) and Marjory (about 1580-1645) at Redruth.

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