The AIF Project

Alfred Frederick SAUNDERS

Regimental number2877
Place of birthCampbelltown, Tasmania
ReligionChurch of England
AddressLatrobe, Tasmania
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, Thomas Saunders, Latrobe, Tasmania
Enlistment date7 November 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll7 October 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name40th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/57/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A67 Orsova on 6 December 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll40th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 13 October 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 2878 Pte Thomas Stanley SAUNDERS, 40th Bn, fate not recorded on Nominal Roll; 963 Corporal Walter Gordon SAUNDERS MM, 26th Bn, returned to Australia, 2 April 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 6 December 1916; disembarked Plymouth, 17 February 1917. Found guilty while at sea of being absent without leave, 4 pm, 2 January-12.45 pm, 3 January 1917, and of threatening a N.C.O.: awarded 72 hours' detention; total forfeiture of pay - 5 days'.

Found guilty of being late for parade of Mess Orderlies, 7 March 1917: awarded 2 days' Field Punishment No. 2. Found guilty of being absent without leave, midnight, 25 May, to 1.30 am, 27 May 1917: awarded 2 days' Field Punishment No. 2, and forfeiture of 5 days' pay.

Proceeded overseas to France, 16 July 1917; taken on strength, 40th Bn, 3 August 1917.

Killed in action (previously reported missing in action), Belgium, 13 October 1917. Statement by No. 2899 Pte W.P. WALKER, 40th Bn, 1 May 1918: 'Private Saunders No. 2899, 40th Battalion A.I.F. on the 12th October 1917, a shell exploded near him. I enquired if it was him and he could not be identified. I do not know as to where he was buried.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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