Sandfield, Albert

Sandfield, Albert

Third Engineer Officer

MV Larchbank (Glasgow), Merchant Navy

Died as the result of enemy action on Thursday 9 September 1943 (aged 29)

No known grave


Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Tower Hill Memorial, London, England (Panel 64)

Chelmsford War Memorial

Holywood and District War Memorial


Albert Sandfield was born on 21 August 1914 in Downshire Road, Holywood, Co. Down and he was the third son of George Benjamin Sandfield and Florence Mabel Sandfield (nee Manning) who were married on 28 February 1907 in Billericay, Essex and they had at least five children:

Francis (born around 1907)

Jessie Augusta (born around 1909)

George Alfred (born around 1911)

Albert (born 21 August 1914 in Downshire Road, Holywood, while his father was working as a chef)

Julia Florence (born 1916 at 2 Yew Place, Holywood, while her father was serving as a Sergeant in the 18th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, Clandeboye Camp)

Albert Sandfield’s father had worked as a blacksmith before joining the Army’s Medical Staff Corps (later the Royal Army Medical Corps) in 1889.  He served for 21 years, including a period in South Africa (1896 to 1903) during which he was wounded. In 1911 he was employed as a chef by Lipton’s Ltd., and in May 1916 (aged 47) Albert’s father rejoined the Army to serve with the Royal Irish Rifles. At that time, the Sandfield family was living at 2 Yew Place, Downshire Road, Holywood.  Albert’s father remained in the Army until January 1920.

During the Second World War Albert Sandfield served in the Merchant Navy aboard MV Larchbank.  This cargo motor vessel was built in 1925 by Harland and Wolff Ltd., Govan, Glasgow for the Bank Line.

Third Engineer Officer Albert Sandfield was among more than 40 men killed on 9 September 1943 when MV Larchbank was torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-27 in the Indian Ocean while on route from Baltimore, Maryland, USA to Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).  A little more than four months earlier, on 28 April 1943, Albert’s father had died (aged 75) at 130 Costead Manor Road, Brentwood, Essex.  Albert’s mother was living at 38 Marconi Road, Chelmsford and before that at 23 Eves Crescent, Chelmsford.  Albert’s mother died in 1965.

On 29 January 1944, a Mass was held for Albert Sandfield in Our Lady Immaculate Roman Catholic Church, London Road, Chelmsford.  Third Engineer Officer Albert Sandfield is commemorated on Tower Hill Memorial in London; on Chelmsford War Memorial and on Holywood and District War Memorial.

Albert’s sister Julia served as a Corporal in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) and she was Mentioned in Despatches for devotion to duty.  Julia Sandfield survived the war.  Before the war Julia worked for the Hoffman Manufacturing Company in Belfast.