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Sgt Arthur Frederick Saunders VC

Sergeant Arthur Frederick Saunders (No 3/10133) 9th (Service) Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry at the battle of Loos on 26 September 1915. He was the first Suffolk man to win the distinction in the First World War.  The citation reads:

For most conspicuous bravery. When his officer had been wounded in the attack he took charge of two machine guns and a few men and although severely wounded in the thigh, closely followed the last four charges of another battalion and rendered every possible support.  Later when the remains of the Battalion which he had been supporting had been forced to retire, he stuck to one of his guns, continued to give clear orders, and by his continuous firing did his best to cover the regiment.  (The other battalion was the 6th Cameron Highlanders.)

Saunders’ return to Ipswich at the end of June 1916 was a cause for great celebrations and a civic reception.  He was greeted by the Mayor and Corporation and officers of the Suffolk Regiment, including Lieutenant-Colonel Bretell who was in command of the 9th Suffolk Regiment in Loos. Saunders was presented with a gold watch by his fellow workers in appreciation of the unselfish manner in which he had served his country and with over £350 which had been raised by a public collection. In 1920 he was made a freeman of the Borough of Ipswich and in 1923 a Justice of the Peace.  Saunders served in the 11th Suffolk Home Guard during World War 2 and died in Ipswich on 30 July 1947.