John Eric Saunderson
Language: Welsh & English
Rank & Number: Private, 19999
Regiment: RGA Northants Regiment, Machine Gun Corps
Cemetery / Memorial: Thiepval Memorial, Somme
Other memorials: Glan Conwy, Eglwysbach
22nd August 1916, age 24 (killed in action in the Somme; his body was never recovered)
Excerpts taken from the following book:
Dr Bridget Osborne, We Will Remember Them… The Men of Eglwysbach and Llansanffraid who served in the Great War, 2016
Life / Background:
John Eric Saunderson was the son of Joseph and Florence. Although Joseph was the son of a hairdresser from Clay Cross, he had begun to work as a gardener by the age of 18. Whilst working at Chatsworth, he met Florence, who was the dressmaker daughter of a woodcutter living in one of the estate cottages in Edensor. The family were in Eglwysbach in 1883, when Florence was born, in Clay Cross when Josephine was born in 1886, and back in Eglwysbach when John Eric was born in 1892. In 1891 Joseph is shown as a gardener domestic gvnr. (Head Gardener). He was responsible for judging the horticultural exhibits in the Mostyn Park floral show in January 1913.
Eric followed in his father’s footsteps, leaving home to learn his trade as a gardener. 18 year old Eric was lodging in the Bothy at Gunnersbury House in Brentford and working as an assistant gardener in 1911. Two brothers, Arthur and Walter Bedford from Ireland were the gardeners and Eric was the youngest of six assistants; Herbert Seriviner from Buckinghamshire, George Morrison from Co. Down, Arthur Burrell from Esher in Surrey, Charles Stainbridge from Kent and William Staincombe from Menheniot in Cornwall. Gardeners clearly travelled to learn the trade.
Whilst in Middlesex, he married Gwladys G. Ambury-Evans and they had a baby daughter. Joan Mary, born in 1915, died in 2004. Glwladys married Robert J. Morris in 1920 and had more children.
Eric enlisted at Towcester into the Northants regiment (22401) before transferring to the Machine gun corps, infantry. Casualties amongst this group were enormous and Eric died on the Somme on 22nd August 1916. His memorial stone in Glan Conwy lies next to his parents’ grave.