John Albert SANDERSON

Poppy

SANDERSON, John Albert

Service Number: 1605
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd Pioneer Battalion
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Killed in action, France, 24 January 1918, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Pont d'Achelles Military Cemetery, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Jamestown Canowie Belt Honour Roll, Jamestown Canowie Belt Yongala Estate Volunteers Roll of Honour, Jamestown Presbyterian Church WW1 Honor Roll, Jamestown Soldier's Memorial Park Arch
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World War 1 Service

28 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 1605, 22nd Infantry Battalion
28 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 1605, 22nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Berrima, Melbourne
24 Jan 1918: Involvement Private, SN 1605, 2nd Pioneer Battalion

JA Sanderson

Mr. and Mrs. William and Sarah Sanderson, 113 Flinders street, Northcote were the parents of four sons who served in the AIF. James was wounded in action at Mouquet Farm; Charles was twice wounded and then gassed during 1918. Gilbert, the youngest, was wounded in action during 1917 and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery during the fighting at Passchendaele. The eldest son, age 25, 1605 Private John Albert Sanderson of the 2nd Pioneer Battalion AIF was killed in action on the 24 January 1918.
"He was killed by a shell while coming back from Ploegsteert. I did not see him hit, but saw his grave. He was buried just near Nieppe. I was there when he was buried ... He came from Northcote. He was very popular with the boys. I knew him personally." (Red Cross file).
The loss of a loved son or husband was tragic enough, but the fog of war made it doubly so for Sanderson's parents. He was reported as Killed in Action in April, 1916, while serving with the 22nd Infantry and his parents duly informed. It wasn't until December, 1917, that it was is discovered that the casualty was actually John William Sanderson, at one time a Clifton Hill resident, but no relation. Some of the documents in Sanderson's file reflect the confusion, including a couple from the T&G Society in 1916 requesting his death certificate. After learning that their son was in fact still alive, his parents had a little less than three months of peace before they were advised John was for the second and sadly last time listed as Killed in Action. Even after it became known Sanderson was still alive, his name was also mistakenly included on a roll of casualties taken up at a memorial service at Northcote Park early in January, 1918. The Leader noted the error "subsequent information showed him to be alive and well'' - just twelve days before he was actually killed. Even after his death, there was more confusion after "Private J. Sanderson of Flinders Street, Thornbury" without checking out the full facts and were forced to publish a clarification the following week specifying it was John, rather than his brother James that had been killed.

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