Robert Goudie Sandison

Robert Goudie Sandison, seaman RNR, was born Catfirth, Nesting, Shetland on the 16th of March 1895 . He was the second child born to Hunter and Mary Ann Sandison (née Goudie). Hunter had become a widower in 1889 when his first wife Davina (née Tait) passed away. Hunter and Davina had nine children and the youngest was just eleven years of age when her mother died. Hunter married Mary Ann Goudie on the 8th of December 1892. He went on to have another five children with Mary Ann Goudie. When Hunter died in May 1909 his youngest child George was only seven years of age.

Robert enrolled in the Royal Naval Reserve on the 28th of February 1916. Established in 1862 The R.N.R provided a pool of experienced seamen for use during times of war. Most men in Shetland who were or had been in merchant ships or fishing boats signed up to the R.N.R as a ready way of making additional money. You were paid a yearly fee and had to attend a couple of weeks training sessions a year, for which you were also paid.

In comparative terms, Shetland had one of the highest losses of life in World War One. The conflict had a huge impact on the population that made up the towns and villages of the islands.

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South Nesting School WW1 memorial

Robert Goudie Sandison’s body was never recovered. He is remembered on the South Nesting School WW1 memorial, Shetland war memorial, Shetland’s Roll of Honour : page 106 and Portsmouth Naval Memorial.


The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.
Internet Archive:
Shetland Library:
Shetland Museum and Archives
The Imperial War Museum

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