Australian soldierDied when: 69 years 207 days (834 months)
Star Sign: Leo
Reginald Walter "Reg" Saunders, MBE (7 August 1920 – 2 March 1990) was the first Aboriginal Australian to be commissioned as an officer in the Australian Army.
He came from a military family, his forebears having served in the Boer War and the First World War.Enlisting as a soldier in 1940, he saw action during the Second World War in North Africa, Greece and Crete, before being commissioned as a lieutenant and serving as a platoon commander in New Guinea during 1944–1945.
His younger brother Harry also joined the Army, and was killed in 1942 during the Kokoda Track campaign.After the war, Saunders was demobilised and returned to civilian life.
He later served as a company commander with the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) during the Korean War, where he fought at the Battle of Kapyong.
Saunders left the Army in 1954 and worked in the logging and metal industries, before joining the Office of Aboriginal Affairs (later the Department of Aboriginal Affairs) as a liaison officer in 1969.
In 1971, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his community service.He died in 1990, aged 69.