Posted by: michaeldaybath | November 15, 2016

Captain Lloyd Sanctuary: With the 18th Division at Thiepval

After its disastrous opening day on the 1st July, the 1916 Somme Offensive settled down into a series of grim set-piece battles through which the Allied armies made incremental gains in territory throughout the summer and autumn, until the campaign finally ground to a halt on the 18th November following the capture of the remains of Beaumont Hamel and Beaucourt-sur-l’Ancre. By that point, the objective of the offensive was no longer to break decisively through the German lines but merely to gain better positions for renewed attacks in the spring of 1917.

The third phase of the Somme Offensive had begun on the 15th September with attacks on the villages of Flers and Courcelette,  operations that had seen the first use of tanks in battle. The Thiepval Ridge, which had been a key objective of the first day of the offensive, finally fell in late September.

18th Division Memorial

18th Division Memorial at Thiepval (Somme), 1st July 2016

At Thiepval, close to the vast Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, is an obelisk memorial for the British 18th Division. The memorial has a commanding position on the ridge, with good views towards Thiepval Wood and the heights on the other side of the Ancre valley. The memorial commemorates the final capture of Thiepval village by the 18th (Eastern) Division on the 26 September 1916.

The 18th Division was a New Army formation commanded by General Sir Ivor Maxse, who continues to be well respected among First World War generals for his innovative approach to training and tactics (he later became Inspector General of Training). The division had performed well in the southern part of the line near Montauban on the 1st July, achieving all of its objectives. By late September, the division – together with the 11th Division and the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions – was a key part of the Reserve Army’s attack on the Thiepval Ridge.

Michael Stedman has described the 18th Division’s attack as “a triumph of courage, organization and determination” [1]. In the 53 Brigade area, the 8th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment and the 10th Battalion of the Essex Regiment made fast progress, while units of 54 Brigade pushed into the remains of Thiepval Chateau and beyond, with the support of a solitary tank, C5 “Creme de Menthe.” With the village taken, the division were able to capture most of the German strongpoint known as the Schwaben Redoubt (Feste Schwaben) over the next few days.

A delayed casualty of the fighting for Thiepval village was Captain Charles Lloyd Sanctuary of the 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. The battalion war diary [2] noted that the 8th Suffolks had suffered 208 casualties in operations between the 24th to 29th September, including 28 killed and 15 missing. Among the officers listed wounded was Captain C. Ll. Sanctuary.

Captain Sanctuary survived for several weeks, but he eventually died from wounds on the 15th November 1916, one-hundred years ago today. An short account of his death published in the Devon and Exeter Gazette [3] showed how precarious life could be, even after evacuation to hospitals far behind the lines.

Capt. Charles Lloyd Sanctuary, the eldest son of Canon and Mrs. Sanctuary, of Old Cleeve Rectory, and a grandson of the late Bishop of Oxford [Charles Lloyd], has died of a wound received during the fighting on the Somme. He lay for thirty hours after being shot through the thigh, but was doing well up to about ten days ago, when septic pneumonia supervened, and it was found necessary to amputate the limb. Death soon followed. Capt. Sanctuary was a nephew of Mrs. S. H. Fisher, and had gained the Military Cross.

Captain Sanctuary is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery [4].

Charles Lloyd Sanctuary was born in 1888 at West Fordington, Dorchester (Dorset), the son of the Rev. Charles Lloyd Sanctuary, and Evangeline Hopgood Sanctuary (née Tabor). Lloyd’s father was minister at Christ Church, West Fordington from 1880 to 1889. By the time of the 1891 Census, the family had moved to Powerstock (Dorset), where the Rev. Sanctuary had succeeded his father, the Venerable Thomas Sanctuary, who had also been archdeacon and rural dean. In around 1898, the Rev. Sanctuary was appointed incumbent of St Thomas’s Church in Salisbury, and by the time of the 1901 Census the family were living in the Cathedral Close there. By 1911, most of the family were still living in the Close, but the 22-year old Charles Lloyd Sanctuary was by now based in London, staying at Ingram House Residential Club, Stockwell Road, Lambeth SW, where the census describes him as a wireless telegraphy student. He had previously studied at St. Edmund’s School, Hindhead and Marlborough College, before going on to the City and Guilds Engineering College in London.

Lloyd Sanctuary joined the Inns of Court O.T.C. on the outbreak of war. In September 1914, he was commissioned into the Suffolk Regiment and joined its 8th (Service) Battalion. He was promoted temporary Captain on the 15 June 1916. In the same month that he died, Captain Sanctuary was awarded the Military Cross [5]:

Temp. Capt. Charles Lloyd Sanctuary, Suff. R.
For conspicuous gallantry in action. Single handed he attacked 12 of the enemy and captured nine prisoners. He has displayed great courage and determination throughout the operations.

The annotated version of the citation in the National Archives (WO 389/2) includes the additional information that this was awarded for actions at the Schwaben Redoubt on the 28 September 1916.


Memorial plaque for Captain Charles Lloyd Sanctuary, St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury (Wiltshire)

Captain Sanctuary’s name appears on several war memorials in the UK, including the Memorial Hall at Marlborough College and the City and Guilds College memorial at Imperial College London (which also features the name of 2nd Lieut. Roy Leslie Box from Bath). Captain Sanctuary’s name also appears on the war memorials in St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury, and at St Mary’s Church, Frampton (Dorset), where Canon Sanctuary later became Rector [6]. The Captain gained another tribute at Frampton in 1920, when a new tenor bell was dedicated in his memory (it was cast by John Taylor & Co. of Loughborough). Captain Sanctuary also has a memorial plaque in St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury.

As with some other Marburians, Captain Sanctuary was honoured by a poem written by the school master John Bain, and published in the Marlborough College journal, the Marlburian [7]:


What may we give to the lads who give
Their own dear life that a world may live?
Honour and Praise – how scant and small
A gift to the giver who gives his all.

How may we think on the lads who fling
Gaily away their own glad, sweet Spring?
Who but must think on a heart so free
With a humble head and a bended knee?

Giving as only the great hearts give,
Giving your all that a world may live,
Wounded to death for us as you lie,
What may we give you Lloyd Sanctuary?

Finally, in one of those curious co-incidences that one finds occasionally when investigating the names that appear on war memorials, it was interesting to discover that Captain Sanctuary’s father was appointed to a prebendal stall in Salisbury Cathedral at the same time as the father of 2nd Lieut. John Morton Mansel-Pleydell [8]:

The King has approved the appointment of the Rev. John Colvill [i.e. Colville] Morton Mansel-Pleydell, vicar of Sturminster-Newton, Dorset, and the Rev. Charles Lloyd Sanctuary; vicar of St. Thomas’s, Salisbury, to the Prebendal Stalls of Torleton and Alton Borealis respectively in Salisbury Cathedral. Mr. Mansell-Pleydell was rector of Branston, Lincolnshire, from 1895 to 1899.

2nd Lieut J. M. Mansel-Pleydell of the Royal Field Artillery had died on the 22 September 1916, also of wounds received in the Battle of the Somme [9].


[1] Michael Stedman, Battleground Europe: Somme – Thiepval (Barnsley: Pen & Sword,  2014), p. 91.

[2] The National Archives WO 95/2039/2.

[3] Devon and Exeter Gazette, 24th November 1916, p. 5.

[4] CWGC database entry:

[5] Supplement to the London Gazette, 25 November 1916, p. 11544:

[6] A recent book on Powerstock in the First World War contains a photograph of Captain Lloyd Sanctuary (Plate 37) and wonders why his name was not included on the war memorial there, given that he had grown up in the village (Richard Connaughton, ed., A Dorset parish remembers 1914-1919: the parish of Powerstock (West Milton: Milton Mill Publishing, 2014), p. 30). Interestingly, the names of three other members of the Sanctuary family appear on the Powerstock roll of honour in St Mary’s Church, but all of them came from a different branch of the family. They were the sons of Canon Sanctuary’s younger brother, Campbell Fortescue Stapleton Sanctuary (who lived close by at Mangerton, near Melplash), making them Lloyd Sanctuary’s 1st cousins. Campbell Thomas and Arthur George Everard Sanctuary served as officers in the Royal Field Artillery. Captain Campbell Sanctuary later joined the Royal Air Force and flew various types of aircraft (Farman MF.11, Airco DH.1, Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2b, B.E.2c, B.E.2e, B.E.12, B.E.12a, R.E.8) before being demobilised in 1918. Captain Arthur Sanctuary of the 3rd Wessex Brigade, R.F.A. (T.F.) resigned his commission in July 1920. Harry Nicholson Sanctuary was a midshipman in the Royal Navy, serving on H.M.S. New Zealand at the Battle of Jutland. All three survived the war.

[7] Marlburian 52, no. 771 (27 Feb. 1917), 23. Cited in: J. A. Mangan, “In Memoriam: The Great War – John Bain, Elegist of Lost Boys and Lost Boyhood,” The International Journal of the History of Sport , Vol. 28 (3-4), 2011, 492-530: 

[8] Yorkshire Post, 14 December 1911, p. 8.

[9] “2nd Lieutenant J. M. Mansel-Pleydell: The death of an artillery officer and inventor,” Opusculum, 22 September 2016:

Update 16/11/2016: I have revised the text slightly to include details of the action for which Captain Sanctuary was awarded the Military Cross (The National Archives, WO 389/2; with sincere thanks to David Underdown) and to note the existence of another memorial: the tenor bell at Frampton. The latter was drawn to my attention by the ringing of a centenary peal in Captain Sanctuary’s memory at Frampton on the 15 November 2016.



  1. The Military Cross registers in WO 389 may reveal the exact action for his MC

    These contain pre-proof copies of the citation before details of place and date of action were removed from the final published citations (which were felt to offer intelligence value to the Germans). They’re a little awkward to navigate, but basically follow the publication order in the London Gazette

    • Many thanks, David. I have now checked with these, and Captain Sanctuary’s citation is annotated with the words “Schwaben Redoubt” and the date “28/9/16,” so his Military Cross does seem to have been awarded for actions undertaken during the attack on the Thiepval Ridge.

  2. […] taking part in the ceremony was the vicar of nearby Frampton, Canon Charles Lloyd Sanctuary, whose eldest son had served in the same division, but who had died-of-wounds a few days before Corporal Rendell. A […]

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