ANAVETS Shoulder to Shoulder

July 2017

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Page 24 of 33

24 SHOULDER TO SHOULDER T he Centenaries of the First World War battles have been happening over the past few years, and I started to ask myself how many stories of these turbulent times have been lost to history, as nobody was asked to write them down or even tape them. In the First World War Canada, including Newfoundland, lost 62,305 men killed, and 175,000 wounded. 267,813 came home, but we don't have 267,813 stories of what they did and went through. They have been called by historians of that war "The Lost Generation", but in truth they were "The Greatest Generation". One of those men who left home and joined up, when he really didn't have to was Alfred John Saunders, 1892 – 1981, my great uncle and to me he was my "Uncle Alf'. He was known as something of a great character within the family - a label he wore with some pride. He was forever in trouble with my mother for his repeated sneaking nightly forays up to my bedroom when I was very young, to slip me cookies. Uncle Alf was just a very ordinary man. He worked hard all his life and looked after his family to the very best of his ability. But Uncle Alf was also a very brave man, and although he rarely ever spoke of it, he had gone through several nightmares during WW1. At the outbreak of WW1 Uncle Alf joined the 1st Bn The Liverpool Scottish, the local army reserve regiment, and was quickly trained and shipped off to the western front. We know he fought at the Battle of Hooge on 16th June 1915 and at the first Battle of the Somme in 1916. At some point after that he and his platoon were tasked to dig a mine under the German trenches, and dig they did. However, The Great Generation By Bill Nangle CD

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