THERE must have been many countless thousands of tragic stories of loss remembered at the weekend on Armistice Day.

Barbara Montgomery for one paid tribute to her grandfather’s twin brother Alexander William Sanders, known as Will, from Shipton Gorge who died at Yypres in 1915.

She visited Keep Military Museum – the only military museum for the Dorsetshire and Devonshire regiments and Dorset Yeomanry – at the weekend.

Barbara Montgomery, the great-niece of Will Sanders, travelled from her home in Scotland to join in the service as Shipton Gorge honoured the memory of the fallen of both world wars and subsequent conflicts.

Barbara gave a moving address to the congregation and laid a wreath of Flanders poppies.

And thanks to the Shipton Gorge website for providing this article about the young man who died after a German gas attack.

There were three siblings in the family, Will, his twin brother Joseph Henry – known as Harry – and his sister Sabina, who were born and brought up in Shipton Gorge.

The family lived at Vine Cottage in Cuckoo Lane.

They went to Shipton Gorge School and the picture, taken circa 1900 outside the school, includes all three children, although it is not possible to identify them individually.

They were brought up by an aunt, Mrs Matthews, as their father was in the navy and it is believed their mother died in childbirth.

On the original photograph the words Shipton Gorge School can just be made out on the chalkboard held by one of the pupils.

Both boys saw active service in the armed forces in the Great War (1914-18). Will was in the 1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. Harry survived but Will died on May 2, 1915, as a result of the second chlorine gas attack ever mounted by the Germans at Hill 60, near Ypres, in which the Dorsets suffered more than 300 casualties, of which 130 died.

His death was reported as follows by Bridport News: PRIVATE A.W. SANDERS POISONED BY GAS The sad news of the death of Private Alexander William Sanders No. 6614 of the Dorset Regiment by poisonous gas on May 2nd reached his father and relatives on Friday and great sympathy is felt for the family in their bereavement. By command of His Majesty the King, a letter of condolence has been sent by Lord Kitchener, and Mrs Matthews, an aunt, has received a letter of sympathy from his lordship the Bishop of Salisbury. The deceased was only 21 years of age, of good physique, and of great promise. He was a keen bellringer at the parish church, and joined in the ringing on the last Sunday he was in England before joining the Expeditionary Force in France. We offer our sincere sympathy to the family of this gallant young soldier.

Pte Will Sanders, 1st Bn Dorsetshire Regiment On 1 June 1915 Harry, who was serving with the Royal Marines, wrote a very poignant letter from on board HMS Zealandia in which he said: “I suppose you have seen in the Bridport News the death of my brother at the front. I used to work in Mr Gundry’s factory but after that I joined the Marines. But I didn’t know that I should have this lot to go through but I suppose it will be over sometime or the other.

But I very nearly dread the thoughts of coming home again to find my brother gone, but I trust he is better off now, but how I shall miss him for we are twins you know.”

Will is commemorated on the memorial triptych in the parish church of St Martin together with three other Shipton men who died in the Great War, namely Private John William Gale of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, Private Reginald George Stevens of 5th Dorsets and Sapper Ernest White of the Royal Engineers.

The names of two villagers who died in the Second World War, Reginald Legg and Lewis White, also appear on the triptych.

Will’s name also appears on the Menin Gate at Ypres in Flanders, Belgium, a memorial to more than 54,000 officers and men who died in the Ypres Salient in World War I and have no known grave.

Grateful thanks are due to Barbara Montgomery, granddaughter of Will’s brother Harry, for providing the photographs and information about the Sanders family.

Barbara’s mother, May Sanders, was born in Shipton Gorge and brought up in the nearby village of Loders.

Ernie Thomas, webmaster of the Shipton Gorge website, said: “I first heard of Will Sanders when Barbara sent me the pictures and a copy of her grandfather’s letter about his death.

“I was inspired by his story to do more research about his war service and found a wealth of information at the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester, which is the regimental museum of both the Dorsetshire and the Devonshire regiments. The museum is a wonderful place for anyone with an interest in the history of the Dorsets and I found in the regimental war diary a detailed account of the gas attack at Hill 60 that claimed the lives of so many young soldiers.

“Shortly after the attack, the situation was saved by Second Lieutenant Robin Kestell-Cornish, who together with the only four men left of his platoon of 40, fired into the gas cloud and stopped the advancing Germans.

“The names of three of the four Dorset riflemen are recorded but the fourth is unknown.

“I like to think that it could well have been Will Sanders.

“I recently took Barbara to the Keep Military Museum where she read the war diary and saw many of the unique exhibits about the Dorsetshire Regiment that are on display there.

“Will’s story and the iconic pictures can be seen on the Shipton Gorge website as well as other information about our village.

“I am particularly interested in finding out more about the other five villagers named above.

“If any readers can help with information about these men, including photographs, would they please contact me at uk “I hope to publish their stories on our website, so that the memory of the sacrifice that they made can live on.”