Gunner Edwin Henry Stanhope Sautelle, 4th Field Artillery Brigade

Posted on 5 May 2021

Fondly known as “Eddy”, Edwin Sautelle was born in 1897, the eldest son of Edwin Sautelle and his wife Lizzie, who was known as “Pearl”.

Born in Watson’s Bay, Eddy grew up in the Vaucluse area of Sydney where his father was a prominent figure, serving on the municipal council for many years, and with a number of terms as mayor.

The young Eddy Sautelle attended the Sydney Church of England Grammar School on the North Shore, and went on to an apprenticeship with his uncle, who was a dentist. He served in the senior cadets and was a member of the local field artillery brigade.

Eighteen-year-old Sautelle enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in September 1915. He was posted to the field artillery and, after a period of training, left Australia for active service overseas in November 1915.

Gunner Sautelle was first sent to Egypt, where he continued training and was posted to the 4th Field Artillery Brigade. From there he was sent to France, arriving in March 1916.

Apart from a short period of time in hospital with a fever, Sautelle remained with the 4th Field Artillery Brigade in the field for more than a year. Although a considerable distance behind the front line, the artillery batteries were a constant target for the enemy guns, and the men were always in danger from shell-fire.

In August 1917, the 4th Field Artillery Brigade was in action near Ypres. Gunner Sautelle was in the telephonist’s dugout. Some reports indicate that he was manning the telephone, others that he was asleep. At around 5pm on 10 August a shell came through the dugout roof, causing the structure to explode. Sautelle and one or two others who were with him were killed instantly, and a number of others nearby were badly wounded.

Sautelle and those who died with him were buried nearby by Chaplain Captain Ashley-Brown.

Their graves were later moved to the Perth Cemetery in Belgium, where today Gunner Edwin Sautelle lies under the words, “In memory of the much loved son of E & L Sautelle of Sydney”.

He was 20 years old.

Meleah Hampton, Historian, Military History Section