332739 Private Percy Sanderson, 9th Battalion, the Highland Light Infantry died of wounds 12 January 1918 and is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.[1]  He was 20 years old and is commemorated on the West Auckland War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, West Auckland Memorial Hall.

Family Details

Percy Sanderson was born 1897 [2] the son of [John] Thomas and Margaret Sanderson.  There were 2 children, both born at West Auckland:

  • Elizabeth bc.1890
  • Percy born 1897

In 1901, the family lived at Front Street, West Auckland where 38 year old Thomas worked as a bricklayer.[3]  By 1911, the family lived at 135 Front Street, Thomas was a bricklayer and 13 year old Percy must have attended school. [4]

Military Details

Percy Sanderson enlisted at Bishop Auckland joining the Highland Light Infantry being given the regimental number 332739.[5]  His service details have not been researched.

The 1/9th (Glasgow Highland) Battalion, the Highland Light Infantry was a Territorial Force.  In August 1914 it was part of the Highland Light Infantry Brigade in Lowland Division and it mobilised to Dunfermline.  5 November 1915, the Division left for France and joined the 5th Brigade, 2nd Division and in May 1916 joined 100th Brigade, 33 Division.[6]  In January 1918, the 100th Brigade comprised the following units:

  • 16th, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps
  • 2nd Bn., the Worcester Regiment
  • 1st, the Queen’s left 14 February 1918
  • 1/9th, Highland Light Infantry (HLI)
  • 100th Machine Gun Company moved to 33rd, MGC 19 February 1918
  • 100TH Trench Mortar Battery

The dates when Private P. Sanderson enlisted and went to France are unknown due to lack of research.  Perhaps he joined up when he reached the age of 18, say during 1915 and after a period of training went to France during 1916.

Between July 1916 and January 1918, the Division took part in the following engagements:[7]

1916, phases of the Battle of the Somme[8]

  • 1 – 13 July: The Battle of Albert
  • 14-17 July: The Battle of Bazentin
  • 20-25 July: The attacks on High Wood
  • The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches

1917, including phases of the Arras Offensive* and the Third Battle of Ypres**[9]

  • 9-14 April: The First Battle of the Scarpe*
  • 23-24 April: The Second Battle of the Scarpe*
  • 20 May-16 June: The Actions on the Hindenburg Line
  • Operations on the Flanders Coast (Operation Hush)
  • 20-25 September: The Battle of Menin Road Ridge**
  • 26 September-3 October: The Battle of Polygon Wood**

The Division continued to serve in the Ypres Salient into January 1918.  The 1/9th Battalion, the HLI War Diary records the following:[10]


Battalion left ERIE CAMP at 8.20 am and proceeded by bus to WHITBY CAMP arriving about 10.30am: platoon marched from YPRES square: the men are accommodated in tents and huts: a good camp.  Raining driving the afternoon and evening.  A small shell landed in the camp during the morning but no damage was done.


All officers who were not in the line during the last tour leave camp at 6am to reconnoitre the trenches [tracks?] etc. leading up to the line.  One officer and 50 other ranks of the battalion are employed on carrying work in support area near KANSAS CROSS: thawing rapidly.


Battalion moved forward to front line. SUPPORT area is in support in the left front support at HAMBURG: relief commenced at 3pm from WHITBY CAMP and was completed by 6pm the battalion relieved the 1st Bn the Cameronians and is now under the orders of the 19th Bde.  The battalion headquarters is called IRKSOME and is situated at D.16.B.8.2. PASSCHENDAELE map. A quiet night. One had 2 Coys on carrying duties for front battalions [some words undecipherable]

9th IRKSOME D.16.B.8.2

The enemy carried out an area shoot on the forward slope and top of PASSCHENDAELE ridge about 10am and continued till about 12 noon: we had 2 men killed 7 wounded and 2 are missing.  There was a good deal of movement in the area with working parties from the rear: hostile aircraft flew over our lines and noticed this work going on.  Things quietened down about noon.


The battalion has relieved the 2nd Bn the Royal Welch Fusiliers in the left front subsector: we ————- 5 casualties during the relief one of which was killed.  The relief was not a good one owing to a number of ———-some guides losing direction and being wounded.  Relief commenced at 5pm and was not complete until 2.30am.  The 10th has been a quiet day on the whole.  There has been a good deal of shelling round HAMBURG and HILLSIDE and ration parties have been harassed.  One guide was killed.  It was very quiet at midnight.  An intercepted wireless message says that the enemy is carrying out a hostile shoot on our front between 10pm and 2am All due precautions have been taken and everything is ready.  It has been thawing all day and the ground is very soft.


Coys were disposed as follows:

A Coy on the right front in a series of posts with Coy. HQs in a cellar in PASSCHENDAELE

B Coy on the left front in a series of posts with Coy HQs in a cellar in PASSCHENDAELE

C Coy in support on the ridge at CREST FARM with Coy HQs in a very deep dugout on the ridge

D Coy in Reserve in HAALEN SWITCH close to HILLSIDE with 5 posts. Coy HQs in a PILLBOX, we had 2 men killed and 7 wounded during the day and night.


The forward slope of PASSCHENDAELE Ridge and HAMBURG were shelled intermittently before noon and at least one direct hit was made on battalion headquarters during the afternoon by a high velocity shell about 3.30pm: several salvos of 4.2” were distributed lose to the trench at Bn HQs

11th INDIGO 5pm Captain Forbes Royal Navy arrived at Bn HQs on an experimental tour for one day: he has been sent to CREST FARM to gain experience there.  The thaw continues and the ground is very soft: a quiet night – very dark.  We had 2 men wounded during the day.


Intermittent shelling round HAMBURG and INDIGO during the day: a sudden salvo of shrapnel was placed on the road at HAMBURG around the HQs of the right, left and support battalions about 8pm.  The night was very dark and progress along the tracks difficult.  A little frost during the night 12/13th

Casualties     killed     wounded [Not completed]      

12 January 1918:

Private P. Sanderson died of wounds.  He could have been wounded on any of the 3 days preceding as a result of enemy shelling.

Between 9 and 12 January 1918, 1/9th Bn., Highland Light Infantry lost 7 Other Ranks killed in action or died of wounds, 2 ORs including Private P. Sanderson died of wounds 12 January 1918. [11]  He was treated in No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station.[12]

Private P. Sanderson was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[13]


Private P. Sanderson is buried at grave reference XXVI.CC.1A Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.  The following epitaph is inscribed on his headstone:

“Still We Think of Our Dear Loved One That We Lost”

During WW1 the village of Lijssenthoek was situated on the main communication line between the Allied military bases in the rear and the Ypres battlefields.  Close to the front but out of the extreme range of most German field artillery, it became a natural place to establish casualty clearing stations.  The cemetery was first used by the French 15th Hospital D’Evacuation and in June 1915, it began to be used by CCS of the Commonwealth forces.  From April to August 1918, the CCS fell back before the German advance and field ambulances took their places.  The cemetery contains 9,901 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.[14]


Private Percy Sanderson is commemorated on the West Auckland War Memorial and the Roll of Honour, West Auckland Memorial Hall.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.260 Auckland 1897 Q3

[3] 1901 census

[4] 1911 census Note: there is no record against Percy’s name therefore it is assumed that he was a scholar

[5] Soldiers Died in the Great War



[8] http://www.warpath/

[9] http://www.warpath/

[10] 9th Battalion, the Highland Light Infantry War Diary WO 95/2431/1

[11] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[12] UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1921

[13] Medal Roll

[14] CWGC


Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery

Military Cemetery

SANDERSON P. Headstone