Enlistment Address

Gulargambone, New South Wales

Service Number



3rd Battalion, 11th Reinforcement


Gulargambone war memorial


RTA 25.5.1919


SAUNDERS William Lawson 3557

William Lawson Saunders was a 20 year old Labourer of Gulargambone when he enlisted at Liverpool on 27 August 1915. The medical examination described him as 5’ 5” tall, 10 stone (63.5kgs), fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair, and no distinctive marks. His father, George Saunders was his next of kin and his religion was Presbyterian.

He embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A14 ‘Euripides’ on 2 November 1915 with the 3rd Battalion, 11th Reinforcement. William was with the 3rd Battalion when they served on Gallipoli and fought at Lone Pine, until evacuation in late December 1915. On return to Egypt he was based at Zeitoun and Tel-el-Kebir when they fought in the defence of the Suez Canal. In mid-June the AIF was reorganised and William was taken on strength of the 53rd Battalion. He embarked at Alexandria for Marseilles on board ‘Royal George’ on 19 March 1916.

William, as part of the 53rd Battalion, would have taken part in most of the major battles in France and Belgium, starting with the disaster of the Battle of Fromelles, where there were 5,000 Australian casualties. He experienced the bitter winters at the Somme and the terrible conditions of the trenches. The only relief was the times spent away in hospital for various illnesses and the Musketry and Signal courses. His final day at the front in France was near Villers Brettoneux during the German Offensive when he was poisoned with gas. William was evacuated to England and admitted to Grayling well War Hospital at Chichester and then Bulford. He was assigned to the Machine Gun Details at Parkhouse England in September 1918 and was in England during the Armistice. He enjoyed his time when on leave, so much so he overstayed his leave and was fined several days’ pay.

William returned to France and served with the 5th Australian machine Gun Battalion until April 1919 when he commenced his return home to Australia on the SS ‘Tras-os Montes’ and arrived in Australia on 25 May 1919.

William was issued the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

He is commemorated on the Gulargambone War Memorial.

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