Saunders, John Walter Gifford. Training


Saunders, John Walter Gifford. Training


118 photographs and a diary. The folder covers John Walter Gifford Saunders’ travel to South Africa on board the Highland Princess accompanied by 1,700 other Royal Air Force and British Army personnel. In 1942/1943 John visited family in Durban before continuing his journey to Zimbabwe by train. During his time there, he went to the Victoria Falls, relaxed with friends and took part in training exercises including camping in the largely uninhabited wild region far from towns. Subjects includes accommodation, transport, landscape, and local scenes.

The collection was loaned to the IBCC Digital Archive for digitisation by Clive Saunders and catalogued by Lynn Corrigan, with additional contributions by Ella Keogh and Lucy Liu.




IBCC Digital Archive


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Saunders, JWG

Collection Items

Diary of John's journey to South Africa
A description of travelling in convoy on the Highland Princess with 1,700 other Royal Air Force and British Army personnel. Including details of the onboard conditions, weather, a stopover, gun duty, attending lectures and wildlife sightings.…

Trainee airman
A head and shoulder portrait of a trainee airman in uniform wearing his half cap with the white flash printed on a postcard.

A sergeant pilot in uniform in front of a building.

Studio portrait of Tony
A head and shoulders portrait of an airman in uniform. On the reverse 'Tony 1943'.

John Walter Gifford Saunders
A half portrait of John in his uniform. He is wearing a side cap and has air gunner's brevet and a warrant officer's badge patch on his sleeve. He is holding a pair of woollen gloves in his hand.

Two airmen
Two men in uniform standing outside with rolled barbed wire fencing behind and a single storey building with chimney beyond. The man on the left has sergeant stripes and a brevet and the man on the right, wearing a blouson jacket with epaulettes,…

John in uniform
John, standing outside with trees in the background. He is wearing a side cap and his uniform shows his sergeant's stripes and his air gunner's brevet. On reverse 'To:- Sergeant J.W.G. Saunders prisoner of war no.250760 Stalag Luft III (Stalag IVB)…

Two airmen
An engineer and an air gunner in uniform with brevet badges.. The air gunner also has a wireless operator's badge above his sergeant's stripes. Both are bare headed and the man on the left is holding a pipe in his hand. They are standing outside in…

Steam train crossing scrubland
A train, with multiple carriages crossing open scrubland about to enter a cutting in the hillside. There are mountains in the distance.

Group of men and boys
A group of 38 men and boys, 15 of whom are wearing caps and homburg hats. They are standing alongside a track and some have one arm lifted with their hands held out.

Baobab tree
John, standing far right, with a camera case slung over his arm and Harry, far left with his arms crossed. They are with three women and another man. John and harry are in shorts and shirts with rolled up sleeves and the other man is wearing…

Table Mountain
An area of scrubland crossed by tracks with over head height fencing beyond which is a wooded area. In the background is a large rocky outcrop with Table Mountain beyond.

View along a train
A steam train with multiple carriages travelling along a hillside in a hilly landscape.

Baobab tree
John, second left and Harry, second right linked with four women standing in front of a baobab tree. The tree has multiple trunks which has graffiti etched onto it.

In the hotel grounds
A group of seven people, four women, wearing summer dresses, and three men standing in the grounds of the Victoria falls Hotel. John is standing third right, has his arms around the women at his side, and Harry far left. They are wearing shorts and…

In the grounds of the Victoria Falls Hotel
A group of seven people, four women and three men in the grounds of the Victoria Falls Hotel. John is standing second left with his arms linked with two women and Pat is standing at the back third left. The women are wearing summer dresses and…

David  Livingstone
A group of four men and four women standing in front of a statue of David Livingstone. John is fourth left and Harry, holding a pipe in his mouth, is third right. One of the women is holding a straw sun hat in her hands and another is holding a…

Baobab tree
John standing far right under a baobab tree with fellow airman Harry standing far right together with three women and a man in civilian clothes. The trunk of the tree has graffiti and carvings on it. On the reverse 'This is a cream of tartar tree…

John with friends
John, standing centre, with fellow airmen Pat to the left and Harry to the right with four women. They are standing in the grounds of the Victoria Falls Hotel with palm trees and a lawn.

A closeup of an eland. It is standing in open scrubland with a further three animals behind.

Group in a garden
A group of four women and three men including Pat, second left and Harry second right. They are standing in the gardens of a building which has palm trees, pond and a lawn. Five of the party are standing with the two younger women sat on the grass in…

Eland locking horns
Two eland with their horns entangled in open scrubland with trees beyond.

A pair of zebras standing in scrubland with trees beyond. There is a wire fence around the area.

Three airmen at Victoria Falls
John, standing between Harry, left with a pipe and Pat on the right. They are standing below a sign for the Victoria Falls showing them to be 2,994 feet above sea level.

A giraffe in scrubland with a road crossing the area and trees beyond.
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