6 1/8 Inches by 3 1/2 Inches
(15.5cm x 9cm)
|Addressed to Mr W. B. Sanders of Mount Lofty, South Australia, this postal cover originally contained a letter from
then Lieutenant Francis Gordon Sanders of the 18th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery. Sanders had arrived in South
Africa as a private in the 2nd Contingent, South Australia Mounted Rifles. W.B. Sanders would have been William
Blackwood Sanders, Francis Gordon's brother.
Francis Gordon Sanders was born at the family homestead of Warcowie Station, South Australia on 26 June, 1879
being the son of James Carstairs Sanders and Emma Harriet McKinley. The younger Sanders attained his higher
education at Prince Alfred College and Roseworthy Agricultural College. Sanders also served with the South
Australia Field Artillery under the command of Major Alfred Edward Marston Norton. Sanders also served as
private secretary to Mr. W. Catton Grasby during his trip through Asia Minor.
I January 1900 Francis Gordon Sanders enlisted in the 2nd South Australian Mounted Rifles (S.A.M.R.) at Adelaide.
His service number was 3 which indicates that he was the third man to enlist. It should be noted that No. 37 of the 2nd
S.A.M.R. was Henry Harbord 'Breaker' Morant. While I have found to reference implying friendship between the
two they would have obviously known each other to some extent.
He served with the 2nd S.A.M.R. until receiving a commission as a second lieutenant in 18th Battery of the Royal
Horse Artillery on 23 May, 1900. No doubt his former artillery experience in South Australia had something to do
with his rather sudden rise in rank. For his service in South Africa Francis Gordon Sanders was entitled to the
Queen's South Africa Medal with the clasps "Johannesburg", "Diamond Hill", "Cape Colony", "Orange Free
State" and "South Africa- 1901". In many of the documents - medal rolls etc. - that list Sanders while in British
service his surname is spelled "Saunders".
After the end of the war Sanders remained in South Africa and joined in partnership with a Mr. J. Tolmer (this may
have been former 54 Trooper James Douglas Tolmer of the 2nd S.A.M.R.) and conducted a transport business in the
Transvaal. Following this Sanders spent some years in India where he once again held a post in the artillery for two
years, this time with the Royal Indian Artillery. He returned to South Africa for a brief time before returning to South
Australia and engaged in various commercial ventures.
During World War One Sanders served in France beginning in November 1915 with the Australian Imperial Force
this time with the Second Division Field Artillery at his former rank. Although I have not found the confirming record
one may assume that Sanders would have been entitled to the British War and Victory Medals and possibly
the 1914-15 Star.
With the end of his second war Sanders returned to South Australia and married Miss Madge Miney of Canowie
Belt and made his home at Washool, North Bundaleer, They had three children: Frank Carstairs, Mary and John
Sanders. Francis Gordon Sanders remained an active leader in his community and held the tile of Justice of the
Peace. He was chairman of the Washpool School Committee, a member of the Belalie Agricultural Society and a
member of the committee of the Jamestown Racing Society.
Francis Gordon Sanders died on 17 April 1939 at his home at Kullunga, North Bundaleer.
Sanders eldest son the afore mentioned Frank Carstairs Sanders as Pilot Officer in 3 Squadron, Royal Australian Air
Force was killed in action 26 September, 1944. Sanders was leading a flight of six Curtis Kittyhawk fighters near
Bologna, Italy when he descended to strafe a lone vehicle observed on a road below. He never rejoined his flight. He
is buried at the Faenze War Cemetery, Italy.