Guide to the Papers of William Hilton Saunders [MSS 064]

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Manuscript Name Papers of William Hilton Saunders
Manuscript Number MSS 064
Last Updated December 2021
Extent 10 cm (2 boxes)
Location Special Collections, UNSW Canberra
Abstract This collection comprises diaries kept by William Hilton Saunders during his First World War service, together with papers and memorabilia collected by him from 1915-1965.

Digital content available from this collection:

Digital Collection Record
Diary 1: February 1916 – 2 Jan 1917
Diary 2: 1 January 1917 – 24 October 1917
Diary 3: 1 January 1918 – 31 December 1918
Diary 4: 18 February 1919- 8 July 1919
Diary 5: 1916-1919 address book with poetry

Scope and Content

This collection comprises diaries, badges, newspaper cuttings, correspondence, cards, ration books, leave pass, photographs and memorabilia relating to William Hilton Saunders' First World War service in France, together with newspaper cuttings relating to the Gilgandra Co-ees. His diaries describe training in Egypt; leave in England; and serving in different campaigns in France.

Biographical Note

William Hilton Saunders was born on 2 August 1894 at Goodooga, NSW. He enlisted on 15 October 1915 at the age of 21. After four months of training at the Liverpool camp he embarked on 8 March 1916 on HMAT A15 Star of England as the 15th Reinforcements for the 13th Battalion, disembarking at Egypt.

In June 1916, Saunders moved from Egypt to France, where he served as a Driver until 1918 with the 4th Division Ammunition Column. He returned to Australia on the 12 May 1919. After the war, he bought a butcher's shop with a bakery attached and then sold out and went shearing. In 1930 during the depression, he bought a mixed business in Sydney.

References: Pam MacLean
First World War Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia, April 2006
The Gilgandra Weekly, Wednesday 20 October 1965

Administrative Information


The collection is available for research.

Restrictions on Use

No copying is permitted without the permission of the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Papers of William Hilton Saunders, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra, Australian Defence Force Academy, MSS 064, Box [Number], Folder [Number].


This collection was acquired from Pam MacLean in 2000.

Access Terms

Personal Names

Saunders, William Hilton, 1894-

Corporate Names

Australia. Army. Australian Imperial Force (1914-1921)

Topical Subjects

Soldiers -- Australia -- Diaries

Soldiers -- Australia -- Archives

World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives, Australian

World War, 1914-1918 -- Biography

World War, 1914-1918 -- Australia



Container List

Box 1

Folder 1
Notebook containing newspaper clippings, ribbons, one letter and pressed flowers; four embroidered silk postcards - two with envelopes and two with smaller printed greeting card inserted in a pocket behind the silk front and the stiff back, 1915-1917; military and civilian badges

Folder 2
Four brief diaries kept during the First World War by Saunders, together together with notes and addresses; loose membership cards, pressed flowers and silk ribbons, 1916-1919

Folder 3
Letter (incomplete), leave or duty ration books (2), military pass, 1916-1919; material collected on the battlefield at Montbrehain, France, from a deceased German soldier named Max Alfred Lein, from II. Ers. Battalion, Res. Jnf. Regiment. 104, 4. Komp., including medical cards, tickets, French and German paper money, German field postcard and coupons, 1917-1918; small material Australian red merchant ensign flag

Folder 4
Copy of The great war... I was there : undying memories of 1914-1918, vol. 3, part 51; newspaper clipping concerning the 50th anniversary of the Coo-ee march from The Gilgandra weekly (20 October 1965)

Folder 5
Copy of Aussie : a reprint of all the numbers of the diggers' own paper of the battlefield (1920)

Box 2

Folder 6
Black and white postcard photograph of two Australian soldiers, 20/1/1919
Black and white photograph of German prisoners of war, France, 1919
Black and white postcard photograph of unidentified German soldiers from 15. Korporalschaft Rekr., Dep. 2, Ers. Batl. Landw. Jnf. Reg. 104, Annaberg
Black and white postcard photograph of unidentified young German soldier
Black and white studio portrait mounted on heavy board of unidentified young Australian army officer with silk ribbons fluttering from his left shoulder strap / by A.J. Vincent, Talbragar Street, Dubbo
Black and white studio portrait mounted on heavy board of three unidentified young Australian army officers with silk ribbons fluttering from their left shoulder strap / by A.J. Vincent, Talbragar Street, Dubbo