The AIF Project

William Henry SAUNDERS

Regimental number1645
Place of birthCoburg, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
Address58 Counsel Street, Zeehan, Tasmania
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 5.5"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinFather, Robert Saunders, 58 Counsel Street, Zeehan, Tasmania
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date14 December 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/29/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A54 Runic on 19 February 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll52nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 16 October 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), 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 connectionsBrother: 2210 Pte Victor Rupert SAUNDERS, 1st Light Horse Brigade Machine Gun Squadron, returned to Australia, 15 May 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Taken on strength, 12th Bn, Gallipoli, 7 May 1915. Wounded in action, 27 June 1915 (shrapnel); admitted to 2nd Australian Field Ambulance, Mudros; discharged to duty, 5 July 1915; rejoined unit, 6 July 1915. To hospital, 14 September 1915 (broncho-pneumonia); transferred to Mudros; to Egypt, 14 September 1915, and admitted to No. 1 Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis,19 September 1914. Admitted to Helouan Convalescent Depot, 1 October 1915; transferred to 1st Training Bn, Zeitoun,10 November 1915. Embarked from Alexandria for overseas, 14 November 1915; rejoined unit, Mudros, 5 December 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 6 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation). transferred to 52nd Bn, 1 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 5 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 12 June 1916. Appointed Lance Corporal, 2 June 1916.

Admitted to 13th Australian Field Ambulance, 24 July 1916 (tonsillitis); rejoined unit, 19 August 1916. Promoted Corporal, 16 September 1916.

Transferred to 13th Training Bn, Codford, England; marched into Bn, 6 November 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 2 October 1917; rejoined 52nd Bn, 5 October 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 16 October 1917.

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

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