The AIF Project

Robert Henry SAUNDERS

Regimental number1829
Place of birthAvoca, Tasmania
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
AddressLatrobe, Tasmania
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation26
Height5' 6"
Weight145 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Edith Saunders, Latrobe, Tasmania
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date15 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name26th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/43/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A67 Orsova on 17 July 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll26th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 October 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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
108
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, 4 September 1915. Admitted to hospital, 12 October 1915; rejoined Bn, 16 October 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 3 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation). Sick to hospital, Tel el Kebir, 31 January 1916; admitted to No. 2 Stationary Hospital, 7 February 1916 (mumps); discharged to duty from No. 4 Auxiliary Hospital, 4 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 15 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 21 March 1916. Admitted to 2nd Divisional Rest Station, 1 June 1916 (rheumatism); discharged to unit, 21 June 1916.

Wounded in action, 5 August 1916 (gun shot wound, right leg); admitted to 14th General Hospital, Wimereux, 8 August 1916; transferred to England,10 August 1916, and admitted to Wharncliffe War Hospital. Transferred to Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 21 September 1916. Marched in to No. 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 26 September 1916. Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Bulford, 25 November 1916; discharged, 23 January 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 71 days. Proceeded overseas to France, 15 February 1917; rejoined 26th Bn, 9 April 1917. Appointed Lance Corporal, 1 August 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 4 October 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Miscellaneous detailsWife, Edith Saunders, wrote on note attached to Attestation Form: 'I Edith Saunders do give my concent [sic] to Robert Saunders my Husband to serve under the British flag during the present war.'

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