Place of Birth Salisbury Wiltshire
Date of Birth 1889
Service Number 24623
Rank Lance Corporal
Died 12th November 1916
Death Location Mesopotamia
Life Before The War
John Saunders was born in 1889, in Salisbury Wiltshire his father was Henry John Saunders and his mother was Emily Saunders who were living at Holy Trinity Institute Winton Street, Kingsland, Southampton on his death.
John Saunders was in the 5th Battalion – Wiltshire Regiment and was awarded the rank of Lance Corporal. He saw service in Mesopotamia and Baghdad, he died in Mesopotamia and was awarded the Victory Medal and British Medal.
The 5th Battalion was formed in Devizes in August 1914, soon after the battalion was assigned to the 13th Western Division taking the place of the 8th Welsh Regiment in the 40th Brigade.
It transferred in June 1915 from England to the Mediterranean Theatre, joining the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to reinforce the forces at Cape Helles on 6th July 1915. After being withdrawn it landed at ANZAC Cove to support operations there. After which the whole division was withdrawn from Gallipoli in January 1916 and dispatched to Egypt, and in February 1916 Mesopotamia and the attempt to relieve the garrison of Kut.
The battalion remained in Mesopotamia for the rest of war, participating in the recapture of Kut. Once a further offensive was approved, the 5th Wilts became one of the first two battalions to cross the Diyalah River, breaking the Turkish defenses containing the initial crossing attempt by the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
Following the Diyala crossing, the battalion participated in the fall of Baghdad and operations north of there. With the signing of the Armistice, the battalion demobilized in 1919.
John is buried in the Amara Cemetary, Plot IX.B.28.