Medal Index Card
A W Saunders 1916
1888 Alfred William Saunders Registered birth Dublin South: Jan - Mar 1888. Vol 2. Page: 609. His father was Matthew Johnston Saunders, who described on the birth certs as a "contractor".
Curiously Arthur William Saunders does not appear among the baptized children of Amelia Saunders but several of his siblings do, e.g. Arthur George, William John, Letitia Adelaide, Matthew John and Margaret Elizabeth:
1901 Census living with mother at 14 Leinster St, Dublin. His father is not at home, and he is young Alfred is working "in business". He had a brother William John (b. 1891 in Dublin) travelled the world as a stage artist in the 1920s and 1930s under the stage name of Paddy Drew.
1911 census. His mother is still in Dublin, but Alfred William in not there. His mother is shown as 33 years married, and does not list herself as a widow, but her husband is not listed in the house. In the Irish Census 1911 he is in an asylum, but is still describing himself as a "contractor", was originally from Co Wicklow and had 6 surviving children:
Royal Aero Club, Aviator's Certificate taken 20 July 1916
1916 Aug 25 Royal Flying Corps appointment. 2nd Lt. A. W. Saunders, R.F.A., Spec. Res.
1918 Aug During August, R. K. Whitney (who had had a great month in July), Doyle, G. M. Duncan, Buckley, and A. W. Saunders (who was now a flight commander), were all fighting well. One patrol led by the last-named on August 9 accounted for four enemy aircraft.
1917 Spring Saunders Kew file shows that he had a bad plane crash in spring 1917 and smashed up his face very badly. He had 12 victories confirmed. His jaws continued to give him problems and he attended medical boards in UK on 18/12/19 and 18/2/20 and so only spent a very short time in Lithuania. He did succeed in gaining a disability pension shortly before he emigrated to NZ.
1918 Aug 8. Gazetted DFC. Lieut. A. W. SAUNDERS.—A gallant and determined officer whose fighting spirit and enthusiasm has been a splendid example to his squadron. On one occasion whilst leading his formation of six machines, he attacked six enemy aeroplanes. Diving from 11,000 to 3,000 ft., he singled out a group of three, and shot down one. He then engaged the other two, which in their endeavour to get away collided and crashed.
1918 Sep 15 Arrives New York from UK. In transit to Canada. Occupation "soldier". He gives his next of kin as his father living at 93 Kalfield Gdns, Kensington (this is same address as on his Aviators Cert)
1919 Oct 31 Lt. A. W. Saunders, D.F.C. transferred to Unemployed List
1919 Nov 12 He was in Air Force section of Lithuanian Army
1920 Jan 17 Released from Lithuanian Air Force
1923 May 25 Flying Officer A W Saunders leaves UK for Fremantle, Aus. He is intending to live in Australia
1927 Feb 5. Relinquishes his commission Flying Officer A W Saunders DFC
1930 Died in a plane crash in New Zealand