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Ernest James Saunders was born in Portobello in 1893, the son of James and Louisa Saunders. By 1901, the family were living at 48 Great Hampton Street, and the household consisted of Ernest and his parents, as well as his brothers, Edward and Percy, sisters Eva and Maud, and a visitor, Edward Smith. James Saunders was a file cutter. At some point, James Saunders presumably died, or perhaps the couple got divorced, but I have found no record of this. Either way, Louisa Saunders remarried to an Alfred Price in 1917.

Ernest James Saunders enlisted with the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment (number 18457). On 20 May 1916, his name appeared in the Express & Star under “Midland Men in Casualty Lists” as wounded. However, he recovered and transferred to the Notts & Derby Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) (service number 80052) , as there is another small item in the “Local & District News” of the Express & Star on 7 May 1918, which reads as follows:

Mrs. Price, 319, Newhampton road West, Wolverhampton, received news today (Tuesday) that her son, Private Ernest James Saunders, Sherwood Foresters, is reported missing. The private was at the relief of Kut, and afterwards went to France.

Ernest did survive the war; he was officially discharged to the “Z list” on 23 March 1919. There is an Ernest Saunders who marries an Olive W. Willett in Wolverhampton in 1920, and they go on to have a daughter, Dorothy, in 1922. It is possible that this is the man in question.