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St James Church Taunton

World War 1 Memorial Project

Francis George Saunders


Name: Francis George Saunders

Rank: Private

Service Number: 6601

Regiment:  Somerset Light Infantry

Battalion/Unit number: 1st Battalion

Date/year of Birth: 1885

Place of Birth: Taunton

Place of Residence: Coal Orchard, Taunton

Date of Death: 26th August 1914

Place of Death: Le Cateau, France

Burial/Memorial: La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial

Francis Saunders was one of five children born to George and Sarah Saunders.  His father was a Masons Labourer and the family lived in Coal Orchard, Taunton.  On the 1911 Census Francis is listed as being a labourer in a coal yard and is married to Lily Mary, with two children, Frank and Dorothy.  He lived with Lily and the children at 3 St James Court, Taunton.

Francis enlisted for the Somerset Light Infantry in 1914, and through his regiment came to be attached to the British 4th Division.  Shortly after the outbreak of war the 4th Division was initially kept back in Britain in case of a German invasion.  However, it was soon deployed to France, and Francis landed at Le Havre on 22nd August. By this time the German Army was advancing towards France, and the first British action of the war took place on 23rd August in the Battle of Mons.  This delayed but failed to stop the advancing Germans, and the 4th Division was hastily moved up to try and join in the fighting withdrawal.  This lead to the Battle of Le Cateau on 26th August, in which Francis was killed.  He was one of 700 soldiers from the British and French force aiming to slow down the German advance.



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