Percy Thomas SAUNDERS

SAUNDERS, Percy Thomas

Service Numbers: 1640, SX7676
Enlisted: 30 August 1915
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 2nd/14th Australian General Hospital
Born: London, England, 17 January 1894
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Lower Sydenham School, London, England.
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Natural Causes, Repatriation Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia , 21 May 1994, aged 100 years
Cemetery: Mitcham Cemetery, S.A.
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World War 1 Service

30 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 1640, 3rd Light Horse Regiment
18 Nov 1915: Embarked Private, 1640, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
18 Nov 1915: Involvement Private, 1640, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '1' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Geelong embarkation_ship_number: A2 public_note: ''
27 Apr 1919: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5th Machine Gun Battalion

World War 2 Service

3 Jul 1940: Involvement Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lance Corporal, SX7676
3 Jul 1940: Involvement Lance Corporal, SX7676
3 Jul 1940: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
3 Jul 1940: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lance Corporal, SX7676
21 Feb 1944: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Lance Corporal, SX7676, 2nd/14th Australian General Hospital
21 Feb 1944: Discharged

Happy in the Service

Born in 1894 in London into a seven child family, mother dying when he was only 11 years old Percy set sail to Adelaide on his own at 16 years - the start of many adventures including serving in both world wars. Percy put his age up to enlist in WW1 and down to enlist in WW11. He saw action on the western front in WW1 and at Tobruk and El Alamein in WW11. He saw much action as a medical orderly attached to various fighting units in both desert and muddy trench warfare. Percy was wounded once ... ‘sitting on a seat cut into the side of the trench reading an old Sydney newspaper when a whiz bang shell landed on the top corner of the trench (a whiz bang shell is a small shell which explodes either before it hits the ground or as it hits the ground), the nose cap opened spraying shrapnel all around me ... some of it penetrating through my sheepskin coat and uniform, and caused abrasions to my back and spine and fell out of my clothes when I took them off later at the Dressing Station. The hot and heavy shell case fell onto the calf of my left leg badly bruising and cutting it, and knocked me to the bottom of the trench.’
Percy provides his unique personal experiences in hand written diaries he kept throughout his service, and describes the highs and lows of being away from the comforts of home while facing the horrors and carnage of battle at close quarters and the bombings and shellings from afar, together with the mateship and camaraderie between the courageous men and women thrust into such conditions. Percy writes in WW1 ...’it amazes everyone to think of what the human frame can stand, and also, man’s inhumanity to man makes countless millions mourn.’

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of the late Thomas and Mrs SAUNDERS of Lower Sydenham, England.

Percy enlisted in the Great War and served in the 3rd Light Horse and went to France where he was transferred to the 8th Field Ambulance.

Married with two children and residing at 299 Glen Osmond Road Glenunga, Percy was educated at Sydenham England.  He played tennis for Parkside Baptist Church and Tramways Clubs. He was an active member of the St. John Ambulance and an officer of the Parkside Baptist Church and lay preacher for many years. Percy joined the M.T. Trust in 1919 and worked up to motorman and after 15 years service enlisted in the 2nd AIF in June 1940.  Left Australia in December 1940 for the Middle East and was 7 months in Tobruk.  His son, Keith, is a Corporal in the A.M.F.