SACKVILLE Herbrand Edward Dundonald Brassey

Category: Conscientious Objector, Military
Rank: Boy Signaller, on joining Navy, then Deck hand with Royal Naval Reserve 21353/DA
Regiment or Ship: Royal Naval Reserve (Trawler Section)
Service Number(s): 21353/DA
Occupation: Attended Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford prior to joining the RNVR
Date of Birth: 20.06.1900
Place of Birth: Bexhill
Date of Death: 28.01.1976
Place of Death: On the pavement outside St James's Palace while walking to the theatre. Place of Burial / Memorials:

St Michael & All Angels Churchyard, Withyham, East Sussex (Memorial in Church)


Address: The Manor House, Hastings Road, Bexhill

Photos and newspaper articles

Family Information

Parents: Gilbert George Reginald Sackville, the eighth Earl De La Warr, and Muriel Agnes Brassey, the daughter of Thomas, the first Earl Brassey : they had three children, with Herbrand being their only son, and the youngest child. His parent’s marriage had been in difficulty for some time and they were divorced in 1902.

Wife (1st):Herbrand Sackville – First Marriage (aged 20) to Helena‎ Diana Leigh (1896 –1966) (aged 24) on 30th Dec 1920‎

Children of Herbrand and Helena Sackville:-

William Herbrand Sackville, 10th Earl De La Warr, born 16th Oct1921, died 9th Feb1988 (Age 66) – cause of death was suicide‎. Married Anne Rachel Devas, on 18thMay 1946 (aged 24)‎ at Maidstone, Kent. They had one daughter and two sons.

Thomas Henry Jordan Sackville, born 13th Nov 1922, served in the Royal Air Force (rank – Flying Officer) from 1941 until he was shot down, presumed killed, in his Mustang aircraft, near the Dutch Coast, on 14th May 1943, at age 20. Thomas was not married.

(Lady) Katherine Pamela Sackville  (known as Kitty Sackville/Giles) born 4th March 1926, married Frank Thomas Robertson Giles on 29th June 1946 ‎(she was aged 20)‎ at Uckfield, Sussex. They had two daughters and one son.
Wife (2nd):Herbrand Sackville – Second Marriage (aged 67) to Dame Sylvia Margaret Harrison, on 1 March 1968 at Caxton Hall Register Office, London. They had no children.

First World War Experience

Herbrand has been said to have been a Conscientious Objector but in truth he was a pacifist and, while a Conscientious Objector is a pacifist, the term came about because of the “Conscience Clause” that was added to the 1916 Military Service Act. Anyone objecting to Military Service and using this “Conscience Clause” to gain exemption could therefore have been referred to as a Conscientious Objector.

Herbrand did not make any objection to going to war instead he joined the Royal Navy Reserve on 1st May 1918, just over a year before he would have been called up. He joined the RNR (Trawler Section) and served on board several mine-sweepers. At that time the Admiralty was using various merchant ships for minesweeper duties -The “Kingfisher” (trawler), the “Lady Evelyn” (paddle steamer ferry boat), “S.S. Queen Empress” (paddle steamer ferry boat) and the “Island Prince” (trawler).

Minesweeping was far from a soft option – it was, in fact very dangerous and some vessels were completely destroyed when things went wrong.

Herbrand’s Service Records show that,on enlistment he joined as a boy signaller, the lowest rank in the Royal Navy, and then became “Deck Hand”, which was the lowest rank in the Merchant Navy. This is probably because all the minesweepers had Royal Navy Officers (retired in many cases) in charge of the boat but the original crew who would have been considered merchant men.

Herbrand, when replying to a question asked by a reporter for the Canadian newspaper, “Ottawa Citizen”, dated 07.01.1944, stated that he had always been a Deckhand and had never achieved any rank higher than that.

In his Service Records he gives his name as Edward de la Warr while In the UK Naval Medal Award Roll (Public Record Office Ref. ADM 171/123) he goes under the name of Ed Sackville.

He is listed, there as “DH” (deck hand), his service number is confirmed as 21353/DA, with, typed in the right margin, the words ”See DE LA WARR, Earl”.

C0014 (3) DE LA WARR Herbrand Sackville (Deckhand) Herbrand Service Record Sheet 1

C0014 (4) DE LA WARR Herbrand Sackville (Deckhand) Herbrand Service Record Sheet 2

C0014 (5) DE LA WARR Herbrand Sackville (Deckhand) Herbrand Service Record Sheet 3


Additional Information

While Herbrand has been said to have been a Conscientious Objector, he never attended a tribunal as he was well underage when he joined the RNR.

 Herbrand’s father’s death was reported in the American newspaper, the “Cornell Daily Sun”, dated 18 December 1915, as follows:-


By The Associated Press. London, (8 p. m.), Dec. 17.— Earl de la Warr died yesterday at Messina from rheumatic seizure, followed by pneumonia. He had been serving in the Dardanelles., was 46 years old. He succeeded to the title in 1896. His son Lord Buckhurst who is 15 years old and a student at Eton is his heir.”

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