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675646 Acting 2nd Corporal
Canadian Engineers

Lieutenant Colonel Edward De Santis 2008

Clark Edwin Sands was born at Culloden in Oxford County, Ontario, Canada on the 21st of July 1896. His birth certificate lists just his mother’s name and bears no entry for his father. His mother was Margaret Catherine Sands who was born on the 12th of August 1874 in Dereham Township, Oxford County, Ontario. She would have been almost 22 years of age when Clark was born. Margaret Catherine Sands later married a man named William Mehlenbacher.

The 1901 census shows that Clark and his mother were then living at his maternal grandparent’s home. His grandfather was James Sands, who had been born at Arnvicar Farm, in Port of Monteith, Scotland. James Sands apparently immigrated to Canada where he married Sarah Agur of Oxford City, Ontario.

Prior to his enlistment in the Canadian Army for service in the Great War of 1914-1914, Sands worked as a farmer and was unmarried. His religion was Presbyterian. Sands resided at on R.R. No. 2 in Otterville, Ontario. His listed his next of kin on his enlistment papers as his father, Mr. G.S. Sands of R.R. No. 1 in Ostrander, Ontario. However, based on the information available from his birth certificate, it appears that G.S. Sands may have been a fictitious person.

Sands enlisted at a Private (Regimental Number 675646) in the 168th Battalion, Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force at Tillsonburg, Ontario on the 25th of February 1916. At the time of his enlistment, he was described as being 20 years of age, 5-feet 9-inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. His distinctive marks included a brown mark on his left buttock.

The 168th Battalion embarked for overseas service from Halifax, Nova Scotia on the 30th of October 1916 on board S.S. Lapland. Sands was subsequently transferred to the Canadian Engineers and saw active service in France and Flanders. By the end of the war he had risen to the rank of Acting 2nd Corporal. For his service during the Great War 2nd Corporal Sands was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Two other members of the Sands family enlisted in the Canadian Army for service in the Great War:

Norman Alexander Walker Sands, aged 21 years and formerly a Corporal in the 48th Highlanders (Active Militia), enlisted at the Cyclist Depot in Toronto on the 28th of August 1915. He was Clark Edwin Sands third cousin.

Archibald McQueen Sands, aged 43 years, enlisted in the Canadian Army Medical Corps at Vernon, British Columbia on the 22nd of July 1916. He was Clark Edwin Sands uncle.


1. Soldier's Attestation Papers. National Archives of Canada.

2. Embarkation Roll of the 168th Battalion, C.E.F.

3. John and Janet Docherty, relatives of Clark Edwin Sands.