Born in Hodnet, Shropshire on 6 January 1898, the third son of the Richard and Sarah Ann Sands of 55 Church Hill, Ironbridge, Shropshire.
There are two CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) records for 349508 Canadian Field Artillery – for Allen Sands and James Gilbert. Investigation and research has confirmed the following:
Allen Sands was born in the Market Drayton district. There is only one Allen Sands’ birth recorded in the United Kingdom in 1897 and 1898. He is recorded living in Fauls Green in the 1901 Census and is also commemorated on the Lower Heath School memorial. He joined the Royal Navy on 1 April 1913, service number J24279. He served on Impregnable, Theseus, Vivid 1 and Carnarvon, deserting from Carnarvon in Montreal 26 October 1916 and still missing 27 November 1916.
James Gilbert enlisted in the Canadian Army in Montreal on 24 November 1916, providing different place of birth and next of kin to Allen Sands, but interestingly declaring his date of birth as 6 January 1897. The army service records confirm that Allen Sands enlisted under the assumed identity of James Gilbert and the information initially provided regarding next of kin and his will were false.
There is no evidence that Allen Sands (Able Seaman J24279) was court martialled. The trail of events and his identity did not come to light until after his death, killed in action. Campaign medals are recorded as awarded to Able Seaman Allen Sands and also to Gunner Allen Sands although we are unsure that medals were awarded by the Royal Navy due to the circumstances.
Both names are recorded on the headstone in the Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery.
Allen is also commemorated on the Ironbridge memorial.
Regiment : Royal Navy and Canadian Field Artillery
Rank : Able Seaman and Gunner
Service Number : J24279 (Royal Navy) and 349508 (Canadian Field Artillery)
Killed in action; France 29 November 1917 Aged 19