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Aloysius Stanbridge - three wars & three monarchs

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Aloysius Stanbridge took part in three wars, the Boer War, 3rd China War (Boxer Rebellion and the Great War) and served under three monarchs.

QUEEN'S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL (Natal) H.M.S. TERRIBLE CHINA WAR MEDAL 1900 (Relief of Pekin) H.M.S. TERRIBLE & GREAT WAR 1914 Star & Bar Trio, with EDWARD VII L.S.G.C. To: PO.7043. Pte -Colour Sgt A. Stanbridge. (Portsmouth) R.M.L.I.

Aloysius Stanbridge was born on 4th October 1874 at Enstone, Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire.

Prior to enlistment he had worked as a grocer. His first of three enlistments into the Royal Marines was at the age of 18 years & 9 months.

He signed for a period of 12 years at Birmingham on 4th July 1893. He was 5ft 6.5" of sallow complexion with brown hair and eyes. His first period of service encompassed both the Boer War & the 3rd China War. The factor that runs right through this man's amazing three part 26 year career is one of total reliability and his sheer dedication to his quality of service. After basic training at Walmer and Gosport he is seen being established with the 10th Battalion Royal Marines at Portsmouth on 3rd May 1894. An early advancement to Corporal is recorded on 7th March 1895.


H.M.S. Terrible was a cruiser built by J. G. Thomson and launched at Glasgow in May 1895 and as a sister ship to HMS Powerful she served in the Boer War, The Boxer Rebellion (3rd China War) & in 1915 as a troopship in The Great War.

In 1899 HMS Terrible was sent to South Africa where she supplied some of her 6-inch and 12-pounder guns for land use. Captain Percy Scott designed mountings to make the guns mobile and they were transported to Ladysmith in HMS Powerful. She also landed a number of her crew in the Naval Brigade which included the then Cpl A. Stanbridge.

A 12-pounder gun on one of Scott's carriages in Natal, South Africa

After the relief of Ladysmith HMS Terrible re-embarked her crew and guns and went to China where the Boxer Rebellion had broken out. She arrived at the Taku Forts from Hong Kong in June 1900. She carried 300 men of the Second Battalion of Royal Welsh Fusiliers commanded by Major Morris, a body of men of the RMLI which included Cpl Stanbridge and 40 Royal Engineers.

This force was sent to Tientsin on June 21st. A 12-pounder gun from HMS Terrible was hauled to Tientsin by 100 men of the Wei-hai-Wei Chinese Regiment under Lieutenant Colonel Bower. The gun was used in the attack on the Peiyang Arsenal on the 27 June 1900. Four of Terrible's 12-pounder quick-firing guns were used in the successful attack on the town on Tientsin which began on July 13 1900.

Stanbridge was wounded during the attack on Tientsin where he sustained an enemy gunshot wound to his right hand.

Promoted to Sergeant on 7th April 1903 with an additional skill as a Musketry Instructor being added on 26th May 1903. [2nd PERIOD OF ENGAGEMENT. 4th July 1905 -- 3rd July 1914] Mr Stanbridge's second period of service added nine years to his total & commenced 4th July 1905 and brought him up to a total of 21 years He married his wife "Lillian" on 2nd August 1913 who was at the time living at 4 Navy Street, Clapham. SW. He is seen being discharged to pension No. 19015 on 3rd July 1914. [3rd PERIOD OF ENGAGEMENT. 2nd AUG 1914--28th OCT 1919] Having only just put his feet up after 21 years of valiant service, I'm sure it would have come as a great inconvenience, nay shock, to this newly married man of exactly one year on 2nd August 1914 to have received his call up papers (yet again) after the declaration of World War One.

His Great War service records the following: LANDED at OSTEND: 26th AUGUST 1914 to 1st SEPTEMBER 1914 DUNKIRK & DEFENCE OF ANTWERP: 19th SEPTEMBER 1914 to 13th OCTOBER 1914 M.E.F. DARDANELLES: 28th APRIL 1915 to 8th JANUARY 1916 M.E.F: 9th JANUARY 1916 to 24th MARCH 1916 [THE 10th Bn PORTSMOUTH R.M.L.I. AT GALLIPOLI 1915] 11 March: Portsmouth Battalion arrived at Lemnos from England on “Gloucester Castle” 18 March: at 6.30pm Royal Marine Brigade sails for a “demonstration” off Gaba Tepe, which was carried out at 5.30am next day. 1.30pm ships returned to Lemnos. 24 March: Royal Marine Brigade sails for Alexandria in Egypt. Orders are modified en route and force sails instead to Port Said, arrives 26-7 March. [APRIL 1915] 7 April: Brigade re-embarked at Alexandria. 11-12 April: arrived at Lemnos. 16 April: moved to Trebuki Bay, Skyros, where Division was concentrating. 23 April: Brigade sails for Gulf of Xeros. 25 April: Division carries out feint landing at Bulair, while British 29th Division lands at Cape Helles beaches and Australian and New Zealand forces at beach near Gaba Tepe / Ari Burnu soon named Anzac cove. Plymouth Battalion makes a landing at “Y” beach in support of 29th Division. 27 April: ships carrying Brigade arrived off Cape Helles at daylight. 28 April: 5pm: “Gloucester Castle” and “Cawdor Castle” ordered to move and anchor off Gaba Tepe. Chatham and Portsmouth Battalions ordered to disembark and come under orders of 1st Australian Division on arrival. On completion of disembarkation at 8pm, Brigade ordered to take over No 2 Section of defences held by Australian and New Zealand forces. This was the western edge of Lone Pine plateau.

Aloysius Stanbridge was demobalised as a Colour Sergeant on 28th October 1919 after 21 years and 4 days service, spending 11 years and 320 days afloat.

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