b. 12/01/1849 Coston, Melton Mowbray, Leics. d. 30/07/1887 Chelsea. London.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 01/01/1875 Indian Ocean.
Francis was the third of five children of the Reverend John and Helen Sandilands (nee Hope). His father was the 11th Baron Torphichen, a title which passed to Francis’ oldest brother James on their father’s death in 1865. Francis joined the Royal Navy and became a Sub Lieutenant. On 4th June 1885 he married Maude Bayard Wiggins in Lancaster Gate, London. Tragically, their only child Robert Walter died after just 16 days. Francis died aged just 38 in July 1887 and was buried in the family plot in Mid Calder, Lothian, Scotland.
In latitude 13° 44′ N., longitude 58° 29′ E., at one o’clock, A.M., of the 1st January, 1875, the ship being under steam, it being at the time dark, and the weather fine and clear, Frederick Cowd, Ship’s Corporal of the First Class, fell overboard from the top-gallant forecastle, and passed aft, apparently unable to help himself. LIEUTENANT THE HONOURABLE FRANCIS ROBERT SANDILANDS, who had had the first watch, and was at the time on the bridge in conversation with the officer of the middle watch, immediately sprang after the drowning man, from a height of twenty-four feet, swam to him, and kept him above water. Owing to part of the slipping apparatus having been carried away, some delay was occasioned in getting the life-boat clear of the slings, but LIEUTENANT SANDILANDS never ceased his efforts to keep the man above water. Both were eventually picked up, the Ship’s Corporal being insensible, and dving soon after being got on board the ship. LIEUTENANT SANDILANDS was unable to reach the life-buoys which had been let go, and he supported the man in the water from twelve to eighteen minutes, never quitting him until he was taken into the boat.
BURIAL LOCATION: KIRK OF CALDER CHURCH, MID CALDER, LOTHIAN, SCOTLAND.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.