Later life
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Later Days

Arthur was a member of the Suffolk Regiment Old Comrades Association and he attended several re-union dinners which were held in Bury St. Edmunds.  I have a rather nice enamel badge for the Suffolk OCA - unfortunately there is not a list of members which can be connected with the badges and so we will never know if this was Arthur's? - almost certainly not!

The OCA badge, like the cap badge has the Castle at Gibraltar in the centre

This is the membership number on the rear

The British Legion Badge

This is the membership number on the rear of this badge.

On 4th July 1934 the Prince of Wales visited Ipswich for the Royal Show and Arthur formed part of the Guard of Honour which was composed of members of the British Legion and Old Contemptibles.  I know this next picture does not really fit into this website as such but it shows two Ipswich Trolley buses pulling up outside the Royal Show in 1934!

He was  awarded the Coronation Medal in 1937 for King George VI.

Ar the outbreak of WW2, Aurthur volunteered and served in the Home Guard from 1940 until 1944. These are the insignia he would have worn on his home guard uniform.

He was in the Headquarters section of the 11th Suffolk Home Guard.  His rank was Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant and below is a photograph of the official register of members of the 11th Suffolk Home Guard

In the Ipswich Record Office there is also a stack of typewritten cards containing more details on the members of the 11th Suffolk Home Guard - the details on these cards include:-

TVOU       227/1      RQMS      SAUNDERS  A      354 FOXHALL ROAD    H.Q. Coy.       NOK Mrs Saunders (Wife) 354 Foxhall Road

11th Suffolk Home Guard - Head Quarters Company - Officers and NCOs - Arthur is third from the right on the middle row.

Arthur's medal ribbons can be seen on this enlargement - The VC, 1914/15 Star, BWM, Victory Medal and Coronation Medal.

As he served in the home guard for the requisite length of time he was entitled to the Defence Medal after the war was ended.

General Sir  Philip Christinson of the 6th Cameron Highlanders (who was a 2nd Lieutenant at the Battle of Loos)  wrote the following about Arthur:-

"I saw the lines of the 24th Division moving forward and the Germans running back. The Suffolks came through where I was and seemed to be going well. Then they  wavered, and to my horror I saw them and the troops on both sides of them doubling back and leaving me isolated again. But one stout fellow, Sergeant A. F. Saunders, refused to retire. He had a Lewis gun he had picked up with a full drum on it. He crawled over to me and said he'd stay and fight. He made to crawl over to the next shell-hole and as he did so a shell landed and blew part of his left leg off about the knee. I crawled over and got him into the shell-hole, putting a tourniquet on his leg and giving him my water bottle, as his was empty. I crawled back to my hole and a few minutes later on looking over the top I saw a fresh wave of Germans advancing. I was wondering what to do - whether to lie doggo or open fire. There seemed no point in opening fire as there were perhaps a hundred and fifty enemy advancing rather diagonally across our front. To my amazement I heard short sharp bursts of Lewis gun-fire coming from the shell hole on my right. This was Sergeant Saunders more or less minus a leg! The Germans were taken by surprise and bunched up, so I joined in and between us we took a heavy toll and the rest retired out of sight. I took down Sergeant Saunders's number, name and regiment. Stretcher-bearer parties from the RE got me and Sergeant Saunders on to stretchers but shells dropped close and we were abandoned. We were lucky, a stretcher-bearer party from the Scots Guards picked us up and got us to an Advanced Dressing Station, where emergency surgery was carried out. Sergeant Saunders, now without a leg, was awarded the VC, while I was given the MC. He and I correspond regularly.

They kept in touch and met up again in 1941.

They corresponded and below is a photograph of a letter sent to Arthur in February 1916, indicating that Christinson was supporting the award of the VC.

Arthur's widow gave his VC medal to the Suffolk Regiment Museum on the occasion of her 99th birthday - the details are in the article below from the Ipswich Evening Star.

Arthur's  book containing a collection of writings by famous authors, which was presented to him by the Prince of Wales at a dinner for VC holders at  the House of Lords on November 9th 1929, was re-discovered at a boot fair and purchased for just 50 pence!  This book is now in the collection of Taff Gillingham - who paid a lot less than the expected amount quoted below!