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John Topping Sanderson
John Topping Sanderson
Brother of Sgt. Hugh Wilson Sanderson, Australian Imperial Forces, No, 608
Brother of Pte. William Sanderson
Brother of Sister Barbara T. Sanderson
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Regiment: Border Regiment, 7th Bn.
Date of Death: 12th December 1915
Buried: Menin Road South Military Cemetery
Additional Information: Son of the Rev. Hugh and Mrs. Jeanie Sanderson (nee Topping), United Free Church Manse, Killearn, Stirlingshire.
Born at Glasgow. Was a distinguished student and Bursar of Glasgow University.
SNWM: Not Listed
Rank: Training Second Lieutenant
Regiment: Border regiment, 7th Battalion
Date of Death: 18th December 1915
Cause of Death: Killed in Action
John T. Sanderson, Second Lieutenant, 7th Battalion, Border Regiment
Killed in Action 12th December 1915
Medal Entitlement: 1914 – 15 Star, British War & Victory Medals
Second Lieutenant J. T. Sanderson, Border Regiment
Father: Rev. Hugh Sanderson, Sister Miss Barbara Miller Sanderson & Brothers Private William Sanderson and Corporal Hugh W. Sanderson.
Stirling Observer, 14th November 1914, Roll of Honour: John Sanderson, Highland Light Infantry
Stirling Observer, 10th July 1915, ‘Local Military Family’
In the Manse Roll of Honour of the United Free Church of Scotland there appear the names of three members of the family of the Rev. Hugh Sanderson, namely: Hugh W. Sanderson, 9th Infantry, 1st Australian Division; John T. Sanderson, 2nd Lieutenant, 7th Battalion the Border Regiment; and Sister Barbara T. Sanderson, Military Hospital, Birmingham. The first named, whose battalion of the Australians was the first to land at Gallipoli, has been wounded in the fighting there, but no particulars have yet come to hand as to the nature of his wounds, whether serious or slight.
Glasgow Herald, 17th December 1915, ‘Deaths on Service’
Sanderson. Killed in action on 12th December 1915, Second Lieutenant John Topping Sanderson, 7th the Border Regiment, youngest son of the Rev. Hugh and Mrs. Sanderson, United Free Church Manse, Killearn.
Scotsman, 17th December 1915. ‘Glasgow Divinity Student Killed’
News has been received at Killearn that Lieutenant John T. Sanderson of the 7th Border Regiment was killed in France. Lieutenant sanderson, who was 24 years of age, was the youngest son of the Rev. Hugh Sanderson, minister of the Killearn United Free Church. He was a pupil of Whitehill Higher Grade School, Glasgow and latterly was studying for the ministry at the Glasgow University. He enlisted after the outbreak of war. He was an athlete of promise, was connected with the Boy Scout movement and was a member of the Officers Training Corps. His elder brother Hugh is at the Dardanelles with the Australian Expeditionary Force.
Daily Record, 23rd December 1915. ‘Officer Killed’
Second Lieutenant J. T. Sanderson (7th Border Regiment), son of the Rev. Hugh Sanderson, Killearn, has been killed.
Daily Record, 23rd December 1915. ‘Killearn Officer Killed’
The first Killearn soldier to give his life for his country is Second Lieutenant John Topping Sanderson, 7th Border Regiment, son of the Rev. Hugh and Mrs Sanderson, United Free Church Manse, Killearn. Lieutenant Sanderson was born at Glasgow in 1891 and was educated at Whitehill Higher Grade School, Glasgow and Glasgow University where he was studying for the ministry. He was a keen athlete and was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps of the University. The Colonel of the battalion in a letter to Lieutenant Sanderson’s parents states that by his death, the regiment have lost a very gallant officer, and they all felt his loss keenly. He looked upon him as one of his most promising officers. He was quite fearless, most capable and energetic.
Stirling Observer, 25th December 1915. ‘Deaths on Service’
Sanderson. Killed in action on 12th December 1915, Second Lieutenant John Topping Sanderson, 7th the Border Regiment, youngest son of the Rev. Hugh and Mrs Sanderson, United Free Church Manse, Killearn.
Stirling Observer, 25th December 1915, ‘Local Officer Killed – The Late Lieut. John T. Sanderson’
Quite a gloom was cast over our village when word was received that the youngest son of the Rev. Hugh Sanderson had been killed in Franc and the sympathy of the whole parish goes out to Mr. Sanderson, his wife and family in this their sad bereavement. Lieutenant Sanderson, who was in the Border Regiment, was a pupil of Whitehill Higher Grade School, Glasgow and latterly was studying for the ministry at Glasgow University. He was the first of the Killearn young men to be killed in action. His elder brother Hugh is with the Australian Expeditionary Force.
Letter from deceased’s Colonel: The colonel of the battalion, in a letter to Lieut. Sanderson’s parents, states that by his death the regiment have lost a very gallant officer, and they all felt his loss keenly. He looked upon him as one of his most promising officers. He was quite fearless, most capable and energetic.
Pulpit Reference: The Rev. Dr. Mitchell, after his sermon in the Parish Church on Sunday morning, referred to the sad event as follows: Brethren, on the day on which you last met for worship in this house of God there occurred on the Western battle-front, near the town of Ypres, an event which brings the war nearer home to us in this parish that it has been brought before. It is true that previously to this a young man who left Killearn for active service in His Majesty’s Army fell at the post of duty; but Post-messenger Lamont had not been long amongst us, though to earn the respect of all who made his acquaintance.
Upon Sunday 12th December, John Topping Sanderson, second lieutenant in the 7th Border Regiment, while on bombing duty in the trenches, was slain by a bursting shell, at the age of 24, and his remains were, on the following day (Monday 13th December) reverently committed by his sorrowing comrades to their last resting-place. And so his body fills a soldier’s grave and we feel that the life of our parish is saddened by the thought that we shall look upon his bright face and clasp his friendly hand no more on earth. About this young fresh personality there was nothing morose, nothing morbid. On the contrary, he diffused sunshine around him wherever he went. We shall miss his alert presence, his kindly word and his happy smile. Distinguished as a student, he had always a high sense of duty to his country, taking an active interest in the Scout movement, enrolling in the Officers’ Training Corps and latterly making a frank response to the call of King and country and offering himself for active service when his native land entered into a life and death struggle with her foes. And now while, alas, his name falls to be deleted from the list of those from this parish who are fighting or training for the field, it falls at the same time to be inscribed upon another and a special Roll of Honour – that, namely, of those who have surrendered their life for our flag. May God comfort the bereaved parents and surviving members of their family. And when the end comes for us, may it find us, as it found him, at the post of duty. May we find comfort in the blessed trust that, as he was faithful to his earthy Sovereign, so he was faithful to his Heavenly King, and that through Him that dies that we might live, he now realises, as none of us yet here, where we see as through a glass darkly, are able to realise, the full truth and meaning of the words of the Captain of our salvation – “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
Stirling Observer, 1st January 1916, ‘Killearn United Free Church, ‘The Late Lt. Sanderson, Memorial Service’
A memorial service in connection with the death of Second Lieutenant John Topping Sanderson, killed in action on the 12th December, was conducted on Sabbath last by the Rev. Theodor Johnson of Strathblane, in Killearn United Free Church.
Mr Johnson preached an impressive sermon from Psalm 107, verse 30, and at the close said that better than anything he could say regarding the deceased soldier were the tributes paid to his merit by the King and Queen, his Colonel and Captain, and brother officers in the field of action, and he proposed to read thse tributes as wreaths were laid on the tomb of a great man. The message from the King and Queen was in the following terms:
Buckingham Palace, 17th December 1915. Rev. Hugh Sanderson, United Free Manse, Killearn.
The King and Queen deeply regret the loss you and the Army have sustained by the death of your son in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow. Keeper of the Privvy Purse.
British Expeditionary Force, 13th December, 1915.
Dear Sir, It is with regret that I have to inform you that Second Lieutenant J. T. Sanderson, 7th Border Regiment, was killed in action yesterday. His death was instantaneous: a big shell hit the dug-out ha was in at the time. By his death the regiment has lost a very gallant officer and we all feel his loss keenly, I looked upon him as one of the most promising officers; he was quite fearless, most capable and energetic. I offer my sincere sympathy in your sad bereavement. The body will be buried, and a proper cross erected over it.
R. L. Warrington, Lieutenant Colonel, commanding 7th Border Regiment.
Other officers write in the same commendatory strain of the dead officer.
The following letter is from the regimental chaplain, the Rev. Leslie G. Mannering:
7th Border Regiment, B.E.F., December 16th 1915.
Dear Mr. Sanderson, As one who was privileged to know your son very well, may I write to express my deepest sympathy. We all liked him; he was always so cheerful and, far better than anything else, he was good and straight and ready to go. In all my association with the regiment (since last April) I cannot remember his ever doing or saying anything unworthy of a Christian gentleman. I remember some seven months ago one of the officers mentioning to me, “Sanderson always said his prayers”. His brother officers are all mourning his loss, From them you will have heard how he died. On Tuesday night I went up with the Presbyterian chaplain (Mr. Wright) to the funeral. It was a quiet, moonlight night when we laid him to rest in the little cemetery. Mr. Wright took the chief part of the service and I said a prayer for the bereaved and closed with the grace, after which we gave the last salute and dispersed. A cross is being placed as soon as possible over the grave. I remember one day last May taking your boy out in my car and we had such a nice talk on religious things. Yes, for him it is promotion to the highest life, and I now you ‘proudly mourn’ such a son. May God comfort you in His infinite love and wisdom is the prayer of yours very sincerely, Leslie G. Mannering, Church of England Chaplain.
The Presbyterian chaplain writes as follows:
Chaplain’s Mess, Headquarters, 17th Division, British Expeditionary Force, France, 15th December 1915.
Dear Mr. Sanderson, You will have heard of the death of your brave son and the Borders people will have given you particulars. We buried him at the cemetery just outside the famous city of which he will have told you often. Mr. Mannering, the Church of England chaplain, assisted in the service. Your dear son was universally respected for his charm and brightness of manner, and his quiet steady and consistent Christian character. I well remember the first time I met him at Lulworth and today I have the precious memory of a bright, frank, pure-minded youth. I find it hard to write: we are in the midst of it here: our work to do from day to day – waiting perhaps our own time, which is always God’s good time. It is harder for you at home. Accept my deepest sympathy and the prayer that God will comfort and strengthen you. Yours truly, Norman M. Wright, Presbyterian Chaplain to the Forces.
Mr. Johnson, resuming his address, continued – From school and college companions have come similar tributes, as well as from hosts of friends of the deceased. To him his country’s need was the call of God, which he could not resist. He was willing to serve in the humblest capacity, for serve he must, and first of all joined the 17th Glasgow Highland Light Infantry Commercial Battalion. About six weeks afterwards he received the King’s commission and was posted to the 7th Border Regiment. His previous training in the O.T.C., with the Special Training at the officers’ schools, made him a very efficient officer, and so in turn he was machine gun and them bombing officer in a short time. He stood forth willingly for God and King and country, ‘Gladly he lived and gladly he died’. He has made the great sacrifice, which his great Leader and Saviour made for us all, and now has been made perfectly blessed with the light and favour of God. Such lives are not incomplete but are perfect in their union and fellowship with God, and the gracious influence they shed upon all that knew and loved them.
Listed on Killearn Memorial: John Sanderson, Lieutenant, Border Regiment
Listed on Glasgow Roll of Honour: John T. Sanderson, Second Lieutenant, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, 42 Aberfeldy Street, Dennistoun.
Listed on Glasgow Evening Times Roll of Honour (1914-15): Lieutenant John Sanderson, Border Regiment.
Listed on Glasgow University Memorial: John T. Sanderson
Listed on Glasgow University Roll of Honour: Second Lieutenant John Topping Sanderson (Biography): John Topping Sanderson was born on 12 May 1891, at Dennistoun in Glasgow, son of the Rev. and Mrs. Hugh Sanderson, and by the time of his studies his father was minister of the United Free Church in Killearn, Stirlingshire. He was awarded a Bursary to study Classics at the University of Glasgow, where he was a distinguished student. He was a member of the Officers' Training Corps, and enlisted at the outbreak of war rather than completing the final year of his MA. He was gazetted temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 3 December 1914, and his regiment was mobilised for active service in 1915, landing in France in July of that year. He was killed in action near Ypres on 12 December 1915, and is buried at the Menin Road South military cemetery. His parents were keen to personalise his loss, and so added the words “with Christ which is much better” to his gravestone in France, as well as an inscription marking his death on their own family gravestone in Killearn graveyard.
Erected by the Rev. Hugh Sanderson in memory of his son
John, 2nd Lieut. 7th Battn. The Border Regiment
Killed in action near Ypres on 12th December 1915 aged 24
His wife Jeannie Topping died 7th July 1918 aged 59
His daughter Mary died 22nd August 1918 aged 24
1891 Census, Living at 110 Ingleby Drive, Dennistoun
Father, Hugh Sanderson, age 31, Assistant Minister of Cowcaddens Free Church, born Dalry, Ayrshire
Mother Jane Sanderson, age 31, born Dalry, Ayrshire
Children: William Sanderson, age 6, born Glasgow
Barbara Sanderson, age 4, born Glasgow
Hugh W.Sanderson, age 2, born Glasgow
1901 Census, Living at Killearn United Free Church Manse, Killearn
Father, Hugh Sanderson, age 42, Minister of United Free Church, born Dalry, Ayrshire
Mother Jeanie Sanderson, age 42, born Dalry, Ayrshire
Children: William Sanderson, age 16, Scholar, born Glasgow
Barbara Sanderson, age 14, Scholar, born Glasgow
Hugh W.Sanderson, age 12, Scholar, born Glasgow
John T. Sanderson, age 9, Scholar, born Glasgow
Mary H. Sanderson, age 7, born Glasgow
Jeanie T. Sanderson, age 6, born Killearn