Crimean VeteranThe funeral of the late Sergeant James Sandbrook, who died at Devonport, Auckland, on Saturday, took place in Wellington yesterday afternoon. Sergeant Sandbrook was a veteran of the Crimean and Maori Wars, and was in his hundredth year.
Born at High Ircall, near Wellington, Shropshire, he enlisted in the second battalion of the 14th Foot on November 11, 1854, at the age of 20. He had retained his original pay book and conspicuous in its printed regulations was a list of military offences for which the death penalty might be exacted.
Even in recent years Mr. Sandbrook had recollections of his days in the Crimea. He often spoke of the hardships suffered by the soldiers, who were compelled to remain in the trenches for the whole twenty-four hours under the extreme winter conditions of that region. He also remembered the pound of salt beef that was issued to the men, and the daily two quarts of water and the ration of rum. His regiment was under, the command of Sir James Alexander, and he was able to recall Lord Raglan, who died in the Crimea, and General Simpson, who succeeded him in command.
He was never wounded, but was in hospital for a time. It was then that he saw Miss Florence Nightingale. He remembered the dark uniform that she used to wear, and the wide straw hat tied with a ribbon under her chin.
After the Crimean War, Mr. Sandbrook was stationed at Malta, and at Gibraltar, and he married in Ireland before coming to Australia and later to New Zealand, where, he arrived in September 1860. He joined the Armed Constabulary, and during the later Maori Wars travelled much about the country on the staff of Sir Donald McLean, Native Minister. He obtained his discharge in 1870, and was in the service of successive politicians at Parliament House, Wellington, until his retirement over twenty years ago.
Mr. Sandbrook was an excellent rifle shot in his prime, and served as an assistant musketry instructor. He was among the oldest Foresters in New Zealand, having first joined a lodge of that body in Wellington in 1870. He was presented to the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York on the occasion of their visits to New Zealand. For a time he was president of the Veterans' Association in Wellington. He was a very well-known figure in Wellington during his long residence here.
In recognition of his war service, the funeral yesterday was a military one. Requiem Mass was celebrated at St. Joseph's Church, Buckle Street, in the morning. The service at the graveside at Karori Cemetery in the afternoon was conducted by the Rev. Father Fletcher. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack, upon which, was a wreath sent by Lady McLean widow of the late Sir Douglas McLean, bearing the words, "In memory of loyal service to Sir Donald McLean." The chief mourner was a daughter, Mrs. N. C Perrin, and amongst those present were Captain V. G. Jervis (representing Major-General W. L. H. Sinclair-Burgess, G.O.C., New Zealand Military Forces), Sergeants-Major O'Leary and Fellen, Sergeant-Major Bezar (a military comrade at the deceased), Lieut-Col. D. C. Bates (president His Majesty's Veterans' Association), Messrs. A. Bothamley, E, N. G. Poulton, and other friends of the deceased. Sergeant- Major King was in charge of the firing party.
Mr. E. Bezar writes: "Seventy-seven years ago on, the 28th of last May Sergeant Sandbrook and I sailed from the Crimea in the steamship Etna. The whole of the 57th 'Diehards' and two Companies of the 14th Regiment were on board. We reached Constantinople next day, took in coal, and resumed the voyage, reaching Malta on Sunday night, June 1. Three years late [later] a 2nd Battalion was formed to the 14th, and many, members 'of the 1st were transferred to the new battalion, the late Sergeant Sandbrook being one. That battalion came to New Zealand in 1860."
Evening Post, Volume CXVI, Issue 5, 6 July 1933, Page 13