Lieutenant William Anderson

Biography of Lieutenant William Anderson

William, born in Pollokshields on the 23rd of June 1889, was the son of William and Isabella Anderson. His father was a builder and contractor, and the family continued to live in Pollokshields, at 24 Sutherland Avenue, which was William’s address when he became an Engineering student at Glasgow University in 1908. He followed a standard curriculum, studying Natural Philosophy, Mathematics, Engineering Drawing, Engineering 1-4 and Mining. He passed his exams without having drawn attention to his academic abilities for good or ill and graduated B.Sc.in 1911.

This was not the end of his studies, however. Whilst pursuing his profession as a Civil Engineer during the day, William spent his evenings taking further classes in engineering subjects at the Glasgow and West of Scotland Technical College (known from 1912 as the Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde). In session 1911-12, he enrolled for civil engineering courses on Railways and Roads, Roads and Tramways, Foundations and Materials, and Harbours and Docks. In session 1912-13, he took classes in Strength of Materials and Theory of Structures, and in session 1913-14 he enrolled for a course in Design of Structures.

William was no doubt unaware of just how useful his skills would soon become to the British Expeditionary Force. He joined the infantry, and was gazetted Second Lieutenant, later Lieutenant to the 217th Army Troops Company, the Royal Engineers. He served on the Western Front. Lieutenant Anderson and his Company were among those who bore the brunt of the German Kaiserschacht, the Spring Offensive which began on 21st March 1918 in Picardy. The move was a bold bid to defeat the Allies before the effects of the American decision to join the war became decisive and while the benefits could still be exploited from the freeing of more German troops to fight in the west after the Russian surrender. On the 27th March 1918, Lieutenant William Anderson died, aged 28, of wounds probably sustained in the Battle of Rosieres (26-27 March) but certainly in the actions around the Somme estuary. He is buried at Namps-au-Val British Cemetery, south west of Amiens. His headstone bears the inscription, ‘To Memory Dear’. Lieutenant Anderson is remembered on the Roll of Honour of the Royal Technical College of Glasgow, and is also honoured in Pollokshields East Church and in the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel.

Summary

Lieutenant William Anderson
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment: 217th Army Troops Company Royal Engineers
Degree: BSc
Awards: N/A
Comments: Died of wounds, 27 March 1918
Note/Press Clipping: N/A
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/8

Sources

University of Glasgow Registry and General Council

University of Glasgow ROH Ch4/4/2/2/8 (photograph only)

CWGC Debt of Honour

University of Strathclyde ROH

Scottish Military Research Group

With thanks to Anne Cameron for providing details from the University of Strathclyde Archive.

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