EDWARD J. GILBERT SAUNDERS

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EDWARD JOHN G. SAUNDERS 1898-1917

Edward Saunders was born in St Austell, Cornwall in 1898, the son of Edward Saunders and his wife Elizabeth Ann nee Stear. Edward’s father was born in Bridgwater, Somerset, and his mother in Kingsbridge, Devon.
There were family connections with the Ashcott area but the family did not arrive in Ashcott until after the 1911 Census when they were living at ‘The Lodge’ at Cossington. At the time of Edward’s death the family were living at ‘Chapel Lane’, Ashcott.
Prior to the moves to the Ashcott area, the family had followed Edward senior in his occupation as an engine driver as he moved his places of work in Cornwall and Devon.
Edward senior was working in the St Austell area when son Edward was born in 1898, and later he was employed in the dockyards in Plymouth with the family living at ’Admiralty St’, Devonport.
Edward Junior was living with his parents in Cossington in 1911 (when he was known as ‘Bertie’), and it is likely that he was conscripted under the Military Service Act which introduced conscription for all unmarried men aged 18-41 at the start of 1916.
Edward joined the 6th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry which had been formed at Taunton in August 1914.
In July through October 1917 the Battalion was fighting the Third Battle of Ypres, Haigh’s plan to break the German armies and secure the Belgian ports. The Battle concluded in October 1917 with the Second Battle of Passchendaele. The result was stalemate with massive casualties. Edward died in preliminary skirmishes prior to the main attacks on 26 October and had no known grave. He was 19 years old.
The Tyne Cot Memorial commemorates the 35,000 British casualties incurred in the Ypres Salient after August 1917 with no known grave.

Edward was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal.

Cemetery Details

 

Cemetery:

TYNE COT MEMORIAL

Country:

Belgium

Locality:

Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen

 

 

Location Information:

The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery, which is located 9 kilometres north east of Ieper town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg (N332). The names of those from United Kingdom units are inscribed on Panels arranged by Regiment under their respective Ranks. The names of those from New Zealand units are inscribed on panels within the New Zealand Memorial Apse located at the centre of the Memorial.

Historical Information:

The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war. The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele. The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September. The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites. The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations, except New Zealand, who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties before 16 August 1917 (with some exceptions). Those United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war. Other New Zealand casualties are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery. The TYNE COT MEMORIAL now bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by Joseph Armitage and F.V. Blundstone, was unveiled by Sir Gilbert Dyett on 20 June 1927. The memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of TYNE COT CEMETERY, which was established around a captured German blockhouse or pill-box used as an advanced dressing station. The original battlefield cemetery of 343 graves was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when remains were brought in from the battlefields of Passchendaele and Langemarck, and from a few small burial grounds. It is now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials. At the suggestion of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, the Cross of Sacrifice was placed on the original large pill-box. There are three other pill-boxes in the cemetery. There are now 11,956 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery, 8,369 of these are unidentified. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

No. of Identified Casualties:

34934

 

Casualty Details

 

 

Name:

SAUNDERS, EDWARD JOHN

Initials:

E J

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Private

Regiment/Service:

Somerset Light Infantry

Unit Text:

6th Bn.

Age:

19

Date of Death:

22/10/1917

Service No:

26752

Additional information:

Son of Edward and Elizabeth Ann Saunders, of Chapel Lane, Ashcott, Bridgwater, Somerset.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

Panel 41 to 42 and 163A.

Memorial:

TYNE COT MEMORIAL

 

In Memory of
Private EDWARD JOHN SAUNDERS

26752, 6th Bn., Somerset Light Infantry
who died aged 19
on 22 October 1917


Son of Edward and Elizabeth Ann Saunders, of Chapel Lane, Ashcott, Bridgwater, Somerset.


Remembered with honour


TYNE COT MEMORIAL

 

Attachments - Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Details
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission Certificate


References - 1881-1911 Censuses
- UK BMD
- World War 1 Medal Cards