Sandy Layfield, in his Royal Artillery uniform.  "The service cap that this soldier is shown wearing came into use in 1915 as an unofficial cap and only lasted two years as it was replaced in 1917 when a newer official soft version of the service dress cap was introduced. Called the "Gorblimey", as this was said to be the effect that it was said to have on Sergeant-major's whenever they saw it, the flaps at the side of the cap were tied over the crown and when untied could be brought down to cover the ears."
Sandy Layfield, in his Royal Artillery uniform.
“The service cap that this soldier is shown wearing came into use in 1915 as an unofficial cap and only lasted two years as it was replaced in 1917 when a newer official soft version of the service dress cap was introduced. Called the “Gorblimey”, as this was said to be the effect that it was said to have on Sergeant-major’s whenever they saw it, the flaps at the side of the cap were tied over the crown and when untied could be brought down to cover the ears.”

When my father died he handed over a pile of photos and papers. I got the photo’s and Kathrine got the papers which she sorted into wonderfully organised packages. After I started building the family tree and story she gave me most of the papers, but hung onto some stuff.

After she died and Bill moved out of the family house the rest of the papers and photos were passed to Chris. Included was this photo of Sandy Layfield, with information written on the back.

The photo was taken November 1915, and has Sandy in his uniform, that of the Royal Garrison Artillery. Written on the back, in my mothers handwriting, it says “Godfather of Edith Margaret Rose” and “Married to Aunty Bee God mother to EMR”. Our mother was born in 1924 so the photo isn’t contemporary with the christening though.

I hadn’t heard of Uncle Sandy, although have a vague recollection of Aunty Bee.

So this is what cousin Alistair and I have found out.

Army pals
Army pals

Sandy was one of Reuben’s best friends, they joined up together and are together in a photo of Army Pals from 1914. Sandy’s full name was Frederick Alexander Layfield and was born in 1888 in Middlesbrough. In 1911 he was a Photo Engraver and lived a 10 minute walk away from Reuben, perhaps they went to the same school. With a middle name of Alexander this would be where his name of Sandy came from.  He was a Gunner in the 1/1st Northumbrian (North Riding) Heavy Battery. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star along with the Victory and British War Medal for his service in France.

His wife was indeed Auntie Bee but she was not a ‘blood relative’ Auntie but very close to the family. She was born Lily Blacklock in 1888 also in Middlesbrough although she called her self Lilian when they married in 1920. I cant find any children. Alistair recalls his father talking about Auntie Bee. She died in 1965, 5 years after Sandy, so I probably did meet them. Maybe there’s a photo of us somewhere in that big pile of photo’s with unrecognised people.

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