CWG: Private John Saunders

Private John Saunders

John Henry Saunders was born at the end of 1899, in the West Sussex village of East Preston. One of five children, his parents were agricultural labourer John and his wife Louisa. John Sr sadly passed away in 1904, when his son was just 4 years old.

Louisa went on to marry again in 1909, to a man named Charman. While no marriage records remain, it seems that he might have been a widower. The 1911 census finds Louisa living in Worthing with her four surviving children (her eldest, Lilian, having passed away earlier in the year), a stepson of 16 and new babe-in-arms.

With the outbreak of war in 1914, John looked to do his part. Sadly, his military records are not available, but what is clear is that he joined the Cavalry Regiment at some point after September 1917. He was assigned to the 3rd Reserve Regiment, which trained men for the Dragoon Guards, and Northamptonshire, Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry units.

Sadly, Private Saunders’ time in the armed forces was limited. He was admitted to the Military Isolation Hospital in Aldershot and, while it is not clear what the admission was for, it seems likely that he was moved from the main hospital because of a contagious condition like tuberculosis or pneumonia.

John Henry Saunders’ time in hospital was brief. He passed away on 16th March 1918, aged just 18 years of age. His body was brought back to Worthing, and he was buried in the Broadwater Cemetery to the north of the town.

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