Private 40104 James William Sanders

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Died of Wounds (Gas) on Tuesday, 18th June 1918, age 24.
Buried in Grave A. 11. at Cremona Town Cemetery, Cremona, Italy.

21st Bn., Manchester Regiment. 91st Brigade of 7th Division.
Formerly 22705 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Son of John and Mary Sanders, of 49, Church Vale, West Bromwich.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: West Bromwich.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/641915/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
1 Finchpath Terrace, Bridge Street, Wednesbury, Staffs.
John Sanders (32, Carter, born West Bromwich), his wife Mary (32, born Tipton) and their 4 children: Albert (10, born Tipton), Ellen (9, born Tipton), James W. (6, born Tipton), Joseph (3, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
49 Church Vale, West Bromwich, Staffs.
John Sanders (43, Miner, born West Bromwich), his wife Mary (43, born Tipton) and their 7 surviving children of 10: Albert (20, Farm Wagonner, born Tipton), Ellen (19, born Tipton), James William (17, Cow Boy on Farm, born Tipton), Joseph (13, Errand Boy, born West Bromwich), Ernie (10, born Wednesbury), Archie (5, born West Bromwich) and Sarah (3, born West Bromwich).

Personal Data

After James's death, his mother Mary received his outstanding army pay of £13/15/7d (13 pounds 15 shillings and 7 pence), then in December 1919 received his War Gratuity of £9/10/0d (nine pounds and ten shillings). This latter amount and date of death suggests that James joined the South Staffs, his first regiment, in April 1916.

Action resulting in his death

The 21st Manchesters were part of 7th Division, one of the 5 British Divisions sent to Italy in late 1917 to prevent the collapse of Italy after the Austrian success at the Battle of Caporetto. The tide turned decisively in June 1918 when the Austrian attack at the Battle of Piave was driven back with large Austrian losses. The 7th Division were the reserve Division on the Asiago Plateau on 15th June 1918, the battle commenced at 3.00am with an Austrian bombardment of the entire British front line and reserve areas, using high explosives, shrapnel and gas shells.

It is likely that the James Sanders was gassed during this bombardment, and died at Cremona on the 18th June 1918. Cremona is about 150 miles from the Asiago Plateau, and was the location of No 29 Stationary Hospital. He is one of the 83 burials in the CWGC plot in the Cremona Town Cemetery. The Cemetery Register at Cremona records the James Died of Wounds (Gas).

Newspaper Cuttings

West Bromwich Free Press, June or July 1918
Mrs W. Sanders, of 49, Church Vale, West Bromwich, has received the news that her son, Private J.W. Sanders of the Manchester Regiment, has died from wounds received in action on June 18th 1918 in a stationary hospital in Italy. Private Sanders, who was 24 years of age, had served two years and ten months in France and Italy and took part in many of the big battles. Prior to the outbreak of war, he was employed by Mr. W. Wilkes, Charlemont Farm, West Bromwich for a number of years. He has another brother serving in France.