In 1886, Sanders was born at Leytonstone, Essex, London, England, the son of Harold Armytage Thomas Sanders and Louisa Augusta Sanders née Watkins. In 1904, Sanders married Maude Marie Tugwell at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, England. In 1910, Sanders married Lilian Mary Spurge at West Ham, Essex, England. In 1936, Sanders died at the age of 49 at Ploughley, Oxfordshire, England.
In December 1916, the New Zealand Government asked (via cable) Sir Thomas Mackenzie, the New Zealand High Commissioner in London to secure the right for New Zealand to appoint an official cameraman. On 23 March 1917, Mackenzie replied (via cable) to inform the New Zealand War Office that an official photographer in the name of Henry Armytage Sanders, had been appointed and assigned to the Western Front attached to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force with rank of lieutenant pending the War Office’s approval. On 2 April 1917, James Allen, New Zealand Minister of Defense and Acting Prime Minister replied that Sanders was unknown to New Zealand Picture Supplies or any other entity in the picture industry. Mackenzie answered the inquiry and informed Allen that Sanders had worked for the French company Pathé Frѐres and was a seasoned photographic and cinematographic professional. The terms were: ”All photographic materials to be supplied by New Zealand Government who will have sole rights to all photographs”. Sanders had already seen action working as the British cameraman for Pathé Gazette in Europe and filmed the war in 1914 when the Germans advanced into Belgium. He had nearly been captured.
On 8 March 1917, Sanders enlisted into the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) in England. He was married and had 3 children. He was sent to France and met up with the New Zealand Tunnelling Company on 8 April 1917. Sanders took all the NZEF historical photographs and designated these with serial numbers in the H series. He remained with the NZEF until January 1919, went back to England to be discharged on 8 March 1919, then returned to work for Pathé Frѐres.
Although Sanders was commissioned as a lieutenant and appointed as the New Zealand Official Photographer, there were restrictions imposed by the War Office Cinematographic Committee. He was briefed on the regulations and the procedure to develop photographs and films, as follows:
Besides taking photographs, Sanders filmed the New Zealand troops and their activities in France. Due to the efforts of the War Office Cinematographic Committee, 12 official films have survived and were sent to the Imperial War Museum.Work of the New Zealand Medical Corps.
New Zealand Battalion on the March [600 feet].
Inspection of New Zealand Troops by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig [400 feet].
On 22 June 1929, Sanders, age list as 43, occupation listed as news film editor, was accompanied by his wife Lillian M., age listed as 50, occupation listed as housewife. The couple sailed aboard the S.S. Carmania from Southampton and arrived at New York, New York on 30 June 1929.
On 25 June 1931, Sanders, age listed as 45, occupation listed as editor, was accompanied by his wife Lillian M., age listed as 53, occupation listed as housewife. The couple had sailed from Southampton on 16 June 1931 aboard the S.S. Lancastria and arrived at New York, New York.
On 4 August 1933, the Sanders couple arrived in New York City. Sanders, age listed as 47, occupation listed as editor, was accompanied by his wife Lillian Mary, age listed as 55, occupation listed as housewife. The couple had sailed aboard the S.S. Carmania from Glasgow on 26 July 1933.