Friday, January 30, 2009
I've added a little more information about George Saunders. Having spent a considerable amount of time researching army service numbers between 1881 and 1918, I can say with reasonable certainty that George joined the Royal Sussex Regiment on about 29th December 1905.
I had previously guessed that he joined in 1906 and that he was probably a Reservist at the time Britain war with Germany in 1914. However, the man who was given the number after George - L/8390 - joined on 29th December 1905 for 9 years with the Colours and 3 on the Reserve; so too did other men enlisting with The Royal Sussex Regiment at this time.
So it think, in the absence of a surviving service record, that it is reasonable to assume that George also joined up for 9&3 and that therefore he had a little under five months left to serve with the Colours when Britain went to war on 4th August 1914. Eight days later, he was shouldering a rifle in France and preparing to meet the might of the German Army.
George was killed in action on 17th August 1916 and is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval. His brother, Henry Alfred Saunders, was killed in action seven weeks later on 7th October 1916. He too is commemorated on the Thiepval War Memorial on the Somme. Both brothers are commemorated on Chailey's war memorial.
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