L/Sgt Herbert “Bert” Saunders (Ret’d)

    • Lance-Sergeant Herbert “Bert” Saunders (Ret’d)
    • RCE GVIR Badge
    • L/Sgt Bert Saunders, England 1943

    We regret to advise of the passing of Lance-Sergeant Herbert “Bert” Saunders (Ret’d) peacefully at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC on 14 December 2006 at the age of 90 years.

    Bert was born in Victoria and lived most of his adult life there. In 1940, at 24, he joined the Royal Canadian Artillery in Victoria and trained locally for a few months.  Offered the opportunity to take trades training in Vancouver, be was transferred to the Royal Canadian Engineers and qualified as a Group 'C' Plumber.  He continued his engineer training in Dundurn SK and later in England.

    Bert served in 4th Canadian Armoured Division Engineers, first in the 8th Field Squadron through France and into Belgium, and there, promoted and transferred to the 9th Field Squadron as a Reconnaissance Sergeant in October 1944.  During the Battle of the Scheldt in Holland, he lost his right foot to an antipersonnel mine on 30 October. He convalesced in Belgium and England before returning to Canada in March 1945. After a short stay in Shaughnessy Hospital in Vancouver, he was discharged in April. Three years after he left Canada he resumed civilian life with an artificial leg.

    Having apprenticed in the nursery and greenhouse business prior to the war, Bert established his own greenhouse business in Victoria which he operated for the next 29 years. He retired from greenhousing in 1974 and moved to French Creek BC, returning to Victoria in 1997 to be closer to his family. He was an active member of the War Amputees Association in Victoria and the Island Growers Association. On his 90th birthday, his family published a book titled “MY STORY: The War Years” about his wartime experiences.

    A memorial service will be held at First Memorial Chapel in Royal Oak on 30 December. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Mental Health Association's Ian Erskin Fund providing housing for people with mental illness or a favourite cause. {gdSep2015kh}