SAUNDERS, John Philip

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Fate
  5. Commemoration
  6. Notes
  7. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
Korean War
Place of Enlistment
Melbourne, Victoria

Personal Details

Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Canberra ACT
Address (at enlistment)
1 Strezlecki Crecent, Narrabundah ACT
Next of Kin
Husband of Mrs. Joan Beulah Saunders and father of Ian and Philip Saunders, 1 Strezlecki Crescent, Narrabundah ACT
Burial Place

No details available

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
Final Rank
Final Unit
3 Battalion Royal Australian Regiment


Died 25 January 1953 aged 25 years, missing presumed killed in Korea


AWM Roll of Honour Memorial Panel 2


The Saunders family first arrived in Canberra in 1914 when Jack Saunders became General Bridges' groomsman. He left the following year but returned in 1925 to be Sir John Butters' chauffeur. John Saunders grew up at Acton and Kingston.

Saunders was killed during a raid by A Company, 3RAR on enemy lines on the night of 24/25 January 1953, the day before his 26th birthday. The Chinese detected the raid and overran the Australians. According to witnesses Saunders was unconscious and left seriously wounded by a grenade blast. The Chinese left him to die where he fell. His body has not been recovered, though it is known that the site of the raid is within the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea.

Years later his widow recalled receiving a letter from her husband on 27 January 1953. He was stationed at Panmunjon and thought that he may be posted home soon because of health problems. Only hours later she received a telegram telling her that her husband was reported missing in action on 25 January 1953. His place of burial is unknown. John Saunders also served in World War 2 (service number NX207809).


AWM Roll of Honour Database
AWM War Diaries, 3 Battalion (AWM85,4/49 - January 1953)
'Sharing my Memories of the Forgotten War - A War Widow's Story' by Joan Marryat, Queanbeyan Historical Society Newsletter, June 1996
Nominal Roll of Australian Veterans of the Korean War
The Canberra Times - 3 February 1953 (p.4), 23 October 1994, 24 May 2009
Information and image provided by Ian Saunders
Canberra Stories Group, 'Settlers Stories' (pp.71-77)

Create Certificate
John Saunders. Image provided by Ian Saunders

John Saunders. Image provided by Ian Saunders

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