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Robert Leslie Sanders

Temporary Staff Sergeant

Serial No:
Serial No. 2267

45th Battalion


Robert Leslie Sanders - Information

Born in Croydon, Robert followed his family when they relocated to Belmont Rd in Glenfield. Here, Robert found work as a landscape gardener. On the 15th of March 1916, he travelled to Bathurst to enlist. He was assigned to the 4th Reinforcements, 45th Battalion as a Private. Before long he was shipped out from Sydney on the 22nd of August 1916 upon the HMAT Wiltshire.

The Wiltshire made berth in Plymouth, England. Robert was then marched out to the 12th Training Battalion. In January 1917, he was transported to France and was billeted at the 4th Australian Division Base Depot in Etaples. He met the 45th Battalion in the lines on the 18th of January during a bitter winter. Robert was appointed Lance Corporal on the 3rd of March 1917. The 45th Battalion played a major role in the Battle of Messines, gaining ground during heavy fighting. Here, Robert proved to be a capable soldier, promoted to Temporary Corporal and Corporal in late June. On the 1st of September, Robert was placed on the superlist for advancement and taken to England two weeks later for NCO training at Tidworth Camp. In October, he attended a Brigade School in Aldershot, on a Physical and Bayonet Training Course. He was then appointed Acting Sergeant at Codford Camp on the 17th of January 1918. In April, Robert returned to France to the 45th Battalion. At the time, a war of movement had returned to the Western Front. The Germans had broken through the lines following the launch of their Spring Offensive on the 21st of March. Paris was once again under threat. The AIF was brought in to fill the gaps. The 45th Battalion hit the Germans hard at Dernancourt. Robert was then promoted Sergeant on the 23rd of May. Having halted the advance, the Allies then began to push back using guerrilla tactics of peaceful penetration. They then began their own offensive commencing with the Battle of Amiens on the 8th of August. The Germans were now on the run, withdrawing to the safety of the Hindenburg Line. After assaulting German defences, Robert was appointed Temporary Staff Sergeant on the 1st of November. The war was over ten days later. On the 7th of December, Robert was detached to the 12th Australian Field Artillery Brigade as a Physical and Bayonet Training Instructor. In May, he was sent back to England. He then sailed for Australia in July, returning home to a grateful family.