Born Claude Fitzgerald Carlile Sandwith in 1899, the son of Rev Claude and Kathleen (née Gregg) Sandwith, he was known as Gerald to his brother George, but Francis for his professional career and later life.
Following Balliol College, Oxford, he was a journalist who between 1924 and 1935 held editorial positions on the staffs of leading newspapers in England and the Dominions, including Assistant Editor of the Times of Ceylon, a Leader Writer on the staff of the Cape Argus, and Chief Sub-Editor of Brittania during Gilbert Frankau's editorship.
His work as a photographer included advertising work (characterized by a delightful image of a small dog sniffing inside a Kellogg's Corn Flakes box on a breakfast table); landscapes (including three cover shots for Country Life); portraiture (including a stunning image of his wife Frieda entirely worthy of a fashion cover); and also tender images for example the innocent nude of young Noelle looking out of a window. He contributed half-page studies to the Morning Post, images for Country Life, and numerous published prints. He ran the photographic department of a major advertising agency (by 1935) and published two books, London By Night (Chatto & Windus, 1930s) and Camera and Chianti (Kaye, 1955).