Captain H.B.S. Handford
8th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (T.F.)
Henry Basil Sale Handford was the elder son of Henry Handford, M.D., F.R.C.P., Senior Consulting Physician to the General Hospital, Nottingham, County Medical Officer for Notts, Major R.A.M.C. (T.F.), and of the Hon. Mrs. Handford, third daughter of the first Lord Belper.
He entered the School in 1907 and left in 1912. He was in the XV in 1911, and in the XXII in 1910 and 1911, and was a Cadet Officer in the O.T.C. before he left. In October 1912, he proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he played cricket and football for his College, and took honours in the first part of the Law Tripos in 1914.
He received a Commission in the 8th Sherwood Foresters in July, 1912, and attended three of their annual Training Camps. He was in charge of the Signalling Section for two years, and trained them so well that they won the Cup in the Brigade Competition.
He went to the Front in France with the North Midland Territorial Division in March, 1915, and was for several months in different parts of the Ypres Salient where the trenches were exposed to fire from three directions, and on one accasion his trench was blown up. He was gazetted Captain in April, 1915. On September 10th he was slightly wounded, but continued on duty.
He was killed in action on October 14th, 1915, while bringing relief across the open in face of machine-gun fire to the Leicesters in the Hohenzollern Redoubt, near Vermelles. Age 21.
His younger brother, Lieut. E.F.S. Handford (O.R.), was killed in the same action.
The appreciation in which Captain and Lieutenant Handford were held by both Officers and men can be gathered from the following extracts from numerous letters :-
"It is indeed hard to lose two such boys. The elder I have known now well for some years. He was a splendid lad and a first-rate Officer, aalways keen and hard-working, and cheerful even under depressing circumstances. He was most popular with all, and his loss leaves a great blank in the Battalion. The younger brother I hardly knew, but the Chaplain said to me the day before his death 'he is the best boy we have had since Hollins died,' and this is very high praise in a Battalion where there are so many splendid boys. They both fell leading their men gallantly to the attack over the open, a death every soldier would be proud to die, and the trench, to gain which they gave their lives, was won and held by their Battalion and is still in our hands."
"Everyone in the Regiment says what a grand pair they were together, and the Regiment grioeves their loss as I do. How well they did in that attack ! We are all proud of the part they played."
I had got to know Basil so well, as he had been my Company Officer, and a more thorough and conscientious Officer I would never wish to be under. I shall miss him as a real friend. Everard, in the short time he has been with us, had won the affection of everyone by his charming personality."
Non-commissioned Officers also wrote expressing their admiration for both brothers, and speaking of their popularity with the men, owing to their helpfulness and sympathy, as well as their capacity.