John Sanders was born in Rochdale, England was single and a Bricklayer living in Ballarat East, Victoria when he enlisted originally enlisted with the 10th Infantry AIF on 12 September 1914, but was discharged as medically unfit (rheumatism) and returned to Australia. Despite this, on 27 September 1916 at the age of 31 he re-enlisted in the 39th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 20 October 1916. He was promoted to an acting Corporal on 10 January 1917, reverting to his previous rank upon proceeding overseas to France. His rheumatism proved troublesome and he found himself admitted to hospital on more than one occasion.
According to a medical report dated 27 December 1917, Sanders suffered a bullet wound to the left knee and a fall due to an explosion. The bullet was removed successfully but he would require a walking stick from that point onward. He returned to Australia on 27 November 1917 and received a medical discharge on 25 January 1918.
Tree No. 2535