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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Christopher Edward Saunders

In memory of:

Lieutenant Christopher Edward Saunders

October 6, 2004

Ireland

Military Service


Age:

32

Force:

Navy

Unit:

HMCS Chicoutimi

Citation(s):

Sacrifice Medal (posthumous), Canadian Forces Decoration

Additional Information


Born:

April 7, 1972
Saint John, New Brunswick

Enlistment:

June 21, 1990

Son of Hugh Saunders and Debbie Sullivan (2020 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother). Step-son of Trish Saunders (Hugh's wife) and Stuart Sullivan (Debbie's husband). Christopher and his wife Gwen had two young sons at the time of his death. Ben and Luke were respectively two years old and seven weeks old when he passed. Son-in-law of Reg and Sherald Patterson.

Biography courtesy of the Royal Canadian Legion

Lieutenant (Navy) Christopher Edward Saunders was a Naval Officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, an enthusiastic submariner trained as a Combat Systems Engineer.

Chris was killed during a tragic fire while serving aboard HMCS Chicoutimi. The submarine was underway from Scotland to Canada when the fire broke out on October 6, 2004.

Chris was very active as a child, always busy with many close friends over the years. Described as growing up a happy, well-rounded boy, he had a penchant for being extremely detailed and organized, even at a young age. “A place for everything, and everything in its place,” says his mother Debbie.

During his school years, Chris seemed to gravitate towards the shy and quiet kids, helping them become more confident. With a passion for puzzles, books and board games, Chris loved baseball and golf and later became an avid mountain biker. He often talked about a career of service to others, and it is exactly what he eventually chose: to serve his country.

Chris graduated from Kennebecasis High School in Saint John with honours. He was part of the Army Reserves throughout those High School years when he received a full scholarship to military college. He attended Collège Militaire Royal de Saint Jean, in Quebec, in the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP).

After his graduation from military college, Chris was stationed in Halifax, aboard CFB Stadacona, working as a Combat Systems Engineer. He also served on other naval ships during his career. He absolutely loved the military, which became his second family, and he shared many adventures with his mates over the years.

Extremely proud and excited to become a submariner, Chris took to the role as the perfectionist he was, becoming hard on himself at times - wanting to achieve the very high standards he set for himself. He was awarded the Sacrifice Medal posthumously. In addition, his former comrades organized a yearly hockey tournament in celebration of his life. The Chris Saunders Memorial Hockey Tournament attracts military hockey teams and raises funds for a different charity each year. The community where Chris grew up also honoured him by naming the Chris Saunders Memorial Elementary School in Quispamsis, NB.

Commemorated on Page 217 of the In the Service of Canada Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:

BERWICK CEMETERY (NOVA SCOTIA)
Nova Scotia, Canada

Grave Reference:

Plot D, Row 113

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of Christopher Saunders– 19755 Lt(N) Chris Saunders (CMR 1995) died on October 6, 2004 during a submarine fire while serving on HMCS Chicoutimi at 32 years of age. He was awarded Sacrifice Medal (posthumous), Canadian Forces Decoration. Photos credits: DND/CAF
  • Photo of Christopher Saunders– Photos credits: DND/CAF
  • Photo of Christopher Saunders– Photo: Formation Imaging Services, MARLANT
  • Photo 2 of Christopher Saunders
  • Memorial Service– Captain Bruce Murray, Canadian Forces Chaplain from Halifax Nova Scotia, greets sailors from HMCS CHICOUTIMI outside the Rhu and Shandon Parish Church in Rhu, Scotland. The sailors where attending a Memorial Service to honour the life of Lieutenant (Navy) Chris Saunders, a Combat Systems Engineer on board HMCS CHICOUTIMI.  Lt (N) Saunders passed away during the course of the medical evacuation to SLIGO Hospital in North-West Ireland. He was one of three individuals evacuated from the submarine for smoke inhalation injuries.Photo: MCpl Paul MacGregor Canadian Forces Combat Camera
  • Memorial service - photo 2– Canadian Navy Sailors from Halifax Nova Scotia, enter the Rhu and Shandon Parish Church in Rhu, Scotland to attend a memorial service to honour the life of Lieutenant (Navy) Chris Saunders, a Combat Systems Engineer on board HMCS CHICOUTIMI.
Photo: MCpl Paul MacGregor Canadian Forces Combat Camera
  • Memorial Doll– Memorial Doll, Canada's Military Colleges

19755 Lt(N) Chris Saunders, who graduated from College Militaire Royal Saint Jean 1995) died on October 6, 2004 during a submarine fire while serving on HMCS Chicoutimi at 32 years of age. He was awarded Sacrifice Medal (posthumous), Canadian Forces Decoration
  • Memorial Stained Glass– Memorial Stained Glass window, Currie Hall, Royal Military College of Canada recalls alumni of Canadian Military Colleges who die while serving at sea.

19755 Lt(N) Chris Saunders, who graduated from College Militaire Royal Saint Jean 1995, died on October 6, 2004 during a submarine fire while serving on HMCS Chicoutimi at 32 years of age. He was awarded Sacrifice Medal (posthumous), Canadian Forces Decoration

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