John SanderS

Name John Sanders
Corps 2nd Battalion, Prince of Wales Leinster regiment (Royal Canadians) Formerly Royal Field Artillery (146614)
Rank Private
Service No. 5596
Date/Place of entry Kettering
Date of death 22 November 1916   Killed in Action
Memorial/Grave 1.L 11 Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay

John Sanders was the second of nine children born to waggoner Samuel Edward Sanders and his wife Emily nee French. Samuel was born in Wilbarston and had returned to live there by 1901. John was born in Little Bowden in 1888 but in 1891 the family were in Great Oakley where their next door neighbours were Antony Beesworth and family from Cottingham. Antony was uncle to several men who later served in the War.

In 1911 John was an ironstone labourer living in his parents’ house in Wilbarston. He is highly likely to be the man who married Edith West of Cottingham in the late spring of 1913: in 1924 an Edith Sanders married Fred Clipson and died in 1939 – this woman’s age tallies exactly with that of Edith West. Edith was the daughter of James and Sarah West who lived at Pinfold Bank in the 1890s. Sarah was a widow in 1901 and later married Charles Bradshaw.

John’s burial record says he enlisted at Kettering but his military record, if it survived, has yet to be identified. He was initially a private in the Royal Field Artillery but transferred into the 2nd Battalion, Prince of Wales Leinster Regiment at an unknown date.

The 2nd Battalion landed at St Nazaire and transferred to the 73rd Brigade in the 24th Division. This division also included the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment where Samuel William Booth was serving, though in a different brigade. The Division served on the Western Front for the entire war, taking part in many of the significant actions. From mid-July to 6th September 1916 it fought in the Battles of Delville Wood and Guillemont, phases of the Battle of the Somme 1916. For the rest of the year it was seemingly not engaged in a major action.

John Sanders died on 22 November and was listed as Killed in Action. He is buried alongside men from several regiments including his own and the 7th Battalion, Northamptonshire at Maroc British Cemetery in the village of Grenay, some ten miles south east of Bethune. For most of the war it was a cemetery for front line troops and field ambulances, begun by the French army in August 1915 but used as a Commonwealth cemetery from January 1916. It now contains 1,379 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War.