|Date of Birth||August 3, 1979|
|Place of Birth||Selkirk, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Martha Steels, mother, 65 California Street, Buffalo, New York, USA|
|Trade / Calling||Grain Dealer/Broker|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||4th Brigade Headquarters|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Branch||Canadian Field Artillery|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||January 10, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||37|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||June 4, 1956|
|Age at Death||77|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
George Edgar Saunders was born on 3 August 1879 in Selkirk in the Township of Walpole, Haldimand, Ontario. His parents William Saunders, a carriage maker, and Martha Graham were both from Ontario, marrying on 16 September 1874 in Selkirk. George had two older brothers, Albert Edwin (1875) and Harvey (1877), and a younger brother William Percy (1882). At some point the family moved to Toronto where George’s father died in late 1891 of typhoid fever. On 25 August 1900, in Toronto, his mother Martha married John Steels, a carpenter. Martha and John moved to Buffalo, New York where Martha died in 1923.
George had been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba and working as a grain dealer/broker when he signed his attestation papers on 10 January 1917 at Shorncliffe in England. He gave his mother Martha in Buffalo as next of kin. He had attended the Officer School of Instruction in Winnipeg from 19 January to 10 February 1916, qualifying for the rank of Lieutenant.
George was taken on strength as a Gunner with the Reserve Artillery, Canadian Field Artillery on 11 January 1917, and proceeded overseas to the 1st Divisional Ammunition Company or Column that April. In December George was attached to the 4th Canadian Divisional Employment Company following a leave. In January of 1918 he requested and was granted a transfer as a clerk to the Headquarters of the 4th Canadian Divisional Artillery. Although not noted elsewhere in his service record, the transfer had his previous unit as 11th Battery, 3rd Brigade, CFA. George went through a couple of transfers to the 4th Brigade CGA in October, then back to the CDA Headquarters, and was granted a fourteen day leave in mid November. While on leave George was admitted to the 5th Canadian General Hospital in Taplow with myalgia, discharged on 21 December. On 18 January 1919 George was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Embarking from Liverpool on 29 January aboard the Baltic, George was discharged from service on 7 March 1919 in Winnipeg.
By the time of the 1921 census, George was married with a young son and living in Winnipeg. His wife Maude Mary Andrews, the daughter of Alfred Joseph Andrews, a barrister at law, and Maude Galbraith Watson, was born on 13 July 1897 in Winnipeg. George and Maude were to make the River Heights area of Winnipeg their home where George worked as a grain broker, retiring in 1951. They gave birth to two sons, William Andrew and George Watson. The family spent time in the summers at their cottage at Devil’s Gap on Lake of the Woods, Kenora. During WW2 they opened their home to airmen from overseas in Canada under the Commonwealth Air Training Program. In later years George and Maude wintered in Florida and spent the summers at the cottage.
George died on 4 June 1956 in St Joseph’s Hospital in Kenora. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife Maude and sons William of Toronto and George of Winnipeg as well as two grandchildren. Maude died on 3 December 1990 in Grace Hospital in Winnipeg. George is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Judy Stockham