War memorial project

Driver John Saunders

PDriver John Saunders A2 display sheet

Family

John Saunders was born on 13 October 1895 at Heath End, Tadley.

His parents were James and Emma Rebecca Saunders (née Matthews).

He was the eldest son of ten children; Lizzie, Dorothy, John, Lilian ‘Lily’, Ivy, James, Alice, William, Emily and Frank.

In the 1901 census he was five years old and living with his parents and four sisters at Heath End, Tadley.

By 1911 the family had moved to New Road, Tadley, approximately the site of Reubens Crescent, where his father kept cows on a small holding. John was aged 15 and his occupation listed as ‘Grocer’s Errand Boy’.

John was unmarried.

Service record

John served as a Driver in the 21st Reserve Park of the Royal Army Service Corps (service number T3/028633).

The Army Service Corps (Ally Sloper’s Cavalry) were the unsung heroes of the British Army in World War I – soldiers cannot fight without food, equipment and ammunition. The vast majority of this tonnage, supplying an army on many fronts, was supplied from Britain. Using horses and motor vehicles, railways and waterways, the Corps performed huge operations of logistics which were one of the great feats of organisation by which the war was won. At its peak, the Corps numbered an incredible 10,547 officers and 315,334 men. In addition, there were tens of thousands of Indian, Egyptian, Chinese and other native labourers, carriers and stores men under orders of the Corps.

Besides John, amongst those remembered on Tadley war memorial is Frederick George Appleton who also served in the Royal Army Service Corps.

Died

John was killed in action on Friday 19 October 1917, aged 22.

There is no record of how John died but it is probable it was during the Third Battle of Ypres. The Huts Cemetery, where he is buried, was used between July and November 1917, during the British summer offensive that was the Third Battle of Ypres (Battle of Passchendaele). The field ambulance units were based in the vicinity and there was a row of huts along the Dickebusch-Brandhoek road used by the medical units at this time. The row of nearby huts was the reason that the cemetery became known as ‘The Huts’.

Commemorated

John is buried in The Huts Cemetery, Leper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

He is also remembered on Tadley war memorial.

Decorations

John was awarded three medals: Victory, British and 1915 Star. These would have been sent to his family.

TADS World War I Memorial Exhibition is available for loan to interested bodies (eg, schools, Remembrance events etc). Copies of individual's sheets may be purchased from Profile Print & Copy (see for further details)

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Page updated: Sunday 3 May 2015; review date: 1 June 2015.