No.40399, Lance Corporal, Arthur John SAUNDERSON
Aged 34

2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
formerly 34779, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 16th November 1916

Arthur John Saunderson was born in Nuthampstead, Herts (ROYSTON Q2-1882 3A:409) son of Joseph and Sarah Louisa SAUNDERSON (née PATEMAN).

1891 census...Aged 8, he was at White's Farm, Nuthampstead with his father Joseph SANDERSON [40] farm foreman born Eyeworth, Beds; his mother Sarah L [40] born Wendy, Cambs; brother Joseph [13] farm labourer born Guilden Morden, Cambs; twin sister Fanny and brother William [5] both born Nuthampstead. In this census the family name has become Sanderson. It also seems his mother was Louisa within the family (she married as Louisa PATEMAN but was Sarah in 1881 and 1891 census).

His mother died in 1893

1901 census...Aged 18, a grocer's porter, he was at The Post Office, High Street, Barkway, nr Royston with Thomas and Emily BAKER and their 6 children. His widower father, sister Sarah and brothers Joseph (horse keeper) and William (farm labourer) were at Anstey Village, Herts.

1911 census...Aged 27, single, a grocer's assistant, he was at Croft Cottage, Wattisfield nr Diss, visiting Timothy and Mary Ann WOOLLARD, and their two daughters, Ethel Maud [22] and Mary Constable [12]. His widower father (farm bailiff) was at Bury Farm, Nuthampstead with Arthur's sister Sarah [36] born Guilden Morden. He married Ethel Maud WOOLLARD (Stow Q3-1911) and lived at some time in Bardwell. His widow was later at Pump Farm, Hinderclay, nr Diss.

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds, while resident in Bardwell. He had been in the Army less than a year when he was killed.
The Battalion war diary simply gives that they were in trenches near Lesboeufs and relieved by 1st King's Own Scottish Borders on the 16th.
They had 16 killed that day, only one with a known grave.

The Bury Free Press of 16th December 1916 reported :-

We regret to record this week that one of Bardwell's most popular men has paid the supreme penalty of war. The sad news has been officially received that Lce-Corpl. A.J.Saunderson was killed in action on November 16th. Much sympathy is extended to the widow, who is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Woolard, of Croft Cottage, Wattisfield.
Previous to being called up, Mr.Saunderson resided at Manor Farm, being employed by Mr.Middleditch in visiting the villages with his trade van, when his genial and obliging manner won him many friends amongst all classes. The deceased was well known in the Free Churches in the district, where his power as a soloist as well as a preacher was always welcomed and in frequent demand for special occasions. He was a devoted and energetic member of the Primitive Methodist Chapel, occupying the position of Treasurer and Class Leader until the time of his enlistment. He is the first local preacher of the Bury Primitive Methodist Circuit to fall in the war.
He enlisted on July 6th last, and was trained in the 3rd Batt. Suffolk Regiment at Felixstowe, winning his stripe within seven weeks, one of the shortest periods that a stripe has been won in the Battalion. Whilst in training his sterling character and loyalty to his religious convictions won him the respect and esteem of his comrades. His breezy chats and solos at the Y.M.C.A. hut gatherings will long be remembered by the boys in khaki who heard him there.He left England on October 18th, joining the Suffolk Regiment, from which he was drafted into the Lincolnshire Regiment, when, after only being in the trenches a fortnight, he was killed by the bursting of a shell which buried him and six others, writes a comrade (Prvt Claydon) who was nearby at the time. The stretcher bearers did all that could be done for him. His little pocket book Bible, which he valued so much in life, was buried with him. He was 34 years old. A memorial service will be held next Sunday afternoon at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Bardwell, which will be continued in the evening.

From the following week's issue, an extract of a letter from his comrade, Prvt Fred Jarvis, of the Lincolnshire Regt:-
"As I was next to your husband when he was killed, I thought it was my duty to write and tell you how he met his death, and I can truthfully tell you that he died instantly, and did not suffer. We were in the reserved trenches on the 16th November, and we were going to be relieved at night time, but I am sorry to tell you that a shell came and hit the trench where John and six more men were in, and it killed six of them outright, and the other poor chap only lasted a few minutes when he died from his wounds. We did not have a chance till night time to get them out of the trenches,but as soon a sit got a bit dark we got the seven poor chaps out of the trench and buried them as decently as we could."

The Bury Free Press reported on 4th August 1917 the unveiling ceremony of a memorial plaque to Arthur in the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Sunday 29th July.

Arthur Saunderson is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, pier and face 1C.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details