SAUNDERS, Arthur and Sidney

Arthur and Sidney were the sons of Robert and Catherine Saunders of Myall Downs, Delungra, west of Inverell. The births of both boys were registered at Barraba NSW, Arthur in 1984; Sidney in 1896. They attended Barraba Public School before the family moved to the Delungra district.

Arthur had been a member of the Myall Creek Rifle Club for four years when he enlisted at Inverell in August 1915. At this time he was a twenty one year old Labourer. As a member of the local Manchester Unity IOOF he was given ‘a send off’ at Delungra and presented with a wrist watch. He joined the 30th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement and sailed from Australia in February 1916 on HMAT A70 Ballarat.  The Battalion arrived at Suez a month later. Arthur was transferred to the 10th Battalion and sent to France in June. He worked as a Driver then became a Gunner. Arthur was Killed in Action at Menin Road, Ypres, Belgium on 23 September 1917 and buried at Reninghelst New Military Cemetery. His few personal effects were returned to his father and included a pipe, knife and books.

Sidney was nineteen when he enlisted at Bingara in January 1916.  His parents gave their permission for him to serve overseas. He joined the 35th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement and left Australia on HMAT A15 Port Sydney in September 1916.  After arriving in England in October, he Qualified as a Bomb Instructor a few months later. He was promoted and sent to France in October 1917. After the war he was granted leave in England for six weeks to gain experience with Wolseley sheep shearing machinery at Birmingham. He returned to Australia in June 1919. Following discharge, he returned home where a Welcome Home was held at his parents’ house decorated with flags for the occasion.  Shortly afterwards Sidney was Mentioned in Despatches by Sir Douglas Haig. (Government Gazette No 123 30 October 1919).

The names of Arthur and Sidney are recorded on both the Delungra and Myall Creek Rolls of Honor. At Inverell Arthur’s name is inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll and Cenotaph. In 1919 he was one of the men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell.