Private William John Saunders

Regiment:          Royal Sussex Regiment 4th Battalion
Service No:                200032
Date & place of birth:   May 1882, Tillington
Date & place of death:  17 October 1918, Belgium

Private William John Saunders is recorded on the Roll of Honour as having joined the TF in 1908 which is probably why he enlisted so early in the war.

Family background

Private William John Saunders, usually called John,was the son of Henry and Priscilla Saunders, of Upperton, Tillington. Priscilla Cooper his mother had several illegitimate children before William was born in 1882. He was christened William John Saunders Cooper and she married Henry about the time he was born. They then had two more children George and Jonathan. Henry was a bricklayer and in 1901 William was a bricklayer’s labourer living at home in Tillington. In 1911 he was a bricklayer boarding at Angel Street Petworth. He married Harriet Remnant in 1912 in Petworth and she was later living at 19 Terminus Rd, Eastbourne.

Military career

John enlisted in Petworth into the Royal Sussex probably near the beginning of the war. He first served in the Balkans entering the theatre of war on 8 August 1915.

Death & commemoration

Private William John Saunders was killed in action on 17 October 1918 aged 35 and is buried in the Dadizeele New British Cemetery. He was awarded the British, Victory and 15 star medals.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project