Felix Edmund John Sainsbury

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Felix Edmund John Sainsbury
Personal Information
Date of Birth 28 Aug 1885
Place of Birth West Lavington, Devises, Wiltshire, England
Death 9 Jun 1917, aged 32
Place of Death 9th Field Ambulance, Messines, France
Age at Enlistment 30 years, 6 months
Description 5'2½" (1.59m) tall ; 108 lbs
48.988 kg
; fresh complexion ; hazel eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Dairy hand
Religion Church of England
Address NOK: Frost Hill Farm, Overton, Hants, England
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Sainsbury
Military Information
Reg Number 2729
Date of Enlistment 26 Apr 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 51st Battalion, 6th Reinforcement / 13th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 10 Oct 1916 ‒ 2 Dec 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A23 Suffolk
Fate Wounded in Action 9 Jun 1917, later Died of his Wounds same day.
Monument Bedfordale Roll of Honour
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Prior to emigration Felix had served with the Hants Imperial Yeomanry. On 6 Dec 1912, aged 26, Felix and his 19 year old brother Lilo Roy embarked on the Orient Lines SS Omrah for Australia from London. Both were described as farm hands.

War Service

A week after entering Blackboy Hill camp, Felix was allocated to the 6th reinforcement draft for the 51st Battalion. Following the completion of preliminary training he travelled with them to England.

On arrival in England he was posted to the 13th Training Battalion where the Australian troops were prepared for a war of attrition that at that time was stationary. He proceeded to France on the HMT Victoria from Folkestone on 3 Feb 1917.

Felix was taken on strength by the 51st Battalion in France on 10 Feb 1917 near Flers, a few days after his arrival. In Apr 1917 he had a case of scabies and was treated by 8th Field Ambulance, before spending time in the 3rd Stationary Hospital in Rouen.

In June 1917 the 51st Battalion supported an attack on Messines Ridge by other units, and on the 9th came under heavy German artillery fire. Felix's injuries were described as gun shot wounds, but were more probably shrapnel wounds to his right Humerus, scalp and right leg. He was taken to the 9th Field Ambulance but died of his wounds there.

In his Red cross file [1] we find a statement by Pte T Terry 2007, of 9 Platoon C Coy.

"...I was with him when he was wounded on the 9th June at Messines, two days after the push started. He walked out towards the Dressing Station and that was all we knew of him till we found his grave after we came out, in a cemetery on the left hand side of the road going towards Armentieres, at the next little village past Neuve Eglise - I think the name was De Soule." Another witness 2697 Pte H McGhee tells us that he was wounded about 8:00pm in the front line by a piece of shrapnel. While walking back for medical help he was "practically blown to pieces. He was between the 1st and support lines at the time. I saw him and shook hands with him as he left the trench to go back."
One of 107 casualties suffered by the 51st Battalion during a 3 day period in the front lines.

Neville Brownings history of the 51st Battalion For King and Cobbers at page 137 describes how an artillery duel that raged across the front lines during the day of the 9th March and that a few casualties had resulted amongst the 51st Battalion including Pte F.E. Sainsbury from 9 Platoon who was wounded and had later died from his wounds.

  • Pont-D'Achelles Military Cemetery CWGC
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Both his parents died in February 1920 and it is left to his school teacher brother (Cavrani G. Sainsbury) in Mount Barker, WA to administer his estate.

In March 1960 an I. Jordan of 128 Leake Street, Bayswater wrote to the Military authorities seeking details of Pte Sainsbury for his/her family genealogy.


Buried in PONT-D'ACHELLES MILITARY CEMETERY 2 , NIEPPE - Plot II, Row A, Grave No.6. 3.5 kilometres north west of Armentieres. Native of Newlands Manor, England. Son of William and Susan Sainsbury.

Four of Felix's brothers served in the British Army and Flying Corps during the war.

  1. "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - Felix Edmund John Sainsbury". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 

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