Sanctuary 101 was a Sisters of Battle Fortress-Convent in the Vidar Secton on the Eastern Fringes, and the location of the first battle between the Imperium and the Necrons to be known to the public at large. Unknown to the sisters, their convent was built upon a Necron Tomb World, which, at the time, the Imperium didn't know was a thing (minus the higher-ups). The sisters were caught with their panties down when the Necrons woke up in 897.M41. The Sisters battled the Necrons, but were inevitably defeated and slain to a woman, and the battle came to be known as the "Massacre at Sanctuary 101". However, (SPOILER ALERT) if you count James Swallow's books as canon, there was a single survivor hiding in the desert (END SPOILERS). Video picts from the battle only showed the sisters being slain by shadowed figures. While those who reviewed the footage couldn't make out the attackers, the recordings, and the battle itself, were the Imperium-at-large's first solid evidence of the Necrons' existence.
Sanctuary 101 was based off a battle report debuting the Necrons when they were first released. The Necrons literally killed them all, to the last model. This battle is the first instance of the Sisters of Battle being killed en masse, and arguably the start of the trend. However, unlike every other instance, it was not intended by the writers - just the natural consequence of poorly balanced tabletop rules. The report took place back in the days of your dudes, when the outcome of battles could actually have a dynamic affect on some portions of the fluff. Having all the sisters wiped out was simply a consequence of losing to the original Necrons, who were homicidal killing machines, rather than the sick and cruel joke that it has now become.
The novel Hammer & Anvil, a.k.a. Round 2, did explain much about the battle, including the fact the Sisters were never the Necrons' real target; it was really just two dynasties fighting each other, and the Sisters got caught in the cross fire. Even though that would mean the Necrons had no reason to attack the Sisters or their Convent in the first place so clearly they are just lying to make the Sisters feel better about themselves. Then Sister Miriya blew up the nearby Necron Tomb Moon with a handful of Krak grenades to the power core, destabilising it enough to rip the entire place apart and destroy the Dolmen Gate that lay within the Obsidian Moon. Yes, blowing up a moon with hand grenades, which is either the stupidest or most awesome thing the Sisters have ever done.
- The High Lords, Alienhunters, and AdMech had already known about the existence of Necrons for decades; it's just that every other encounter was possible to cover up due to a lack of solid evidence.