2nd Lieutenant William Anderson

Biography of 2nd Lieutenant William Anderson

William Anderson was born on the 29th April 1891 in Hamilton, Lanarkshire. He was the first son of Robert Anderson, a Spirit Merchant in the town and at one time served as a Baillie. He and his wife Elizabeth Anderson (nee Bell) had a large family to support. The 1911 census finds them living at Anderson Street, Burnbank, with their nine children. William was the eldest son, a brother to eight sisters. He was educated at Hamilton Academy where he captained the school football team in the year it won the Scottish Schools Football Shield and he remained well known in Lanarkshire football circles for many years afterwards.

In 1910 he matriculated at the University of Glasgow to study Medicine and took classes in Zoology and Chemistry, perhaps with a view to becoming a Veterinary Surgeon. Something derailed the plan, however, and he left after his first year and subsequently never graduated.

During the First World War, William was commissioned in the 11th Battalion of the Black Watch and in December 1915, he was attached to the 9th Battalion and sent to France. For his service in the last three weeks of that year he qualified for the award of the 1914-15 Star. He was experienced in the personal pains of war, having been twice wounded in France serving with the 9th Battalion.

On the 23rd April 1917, William took part in an effort by the 15th (Scottish) Division to capture the village of Guémappe on the Arras-Cambrai Road. The British advance at Arras in April was undertaken in freezing cold, sometimes in poor visibility, and, on the day William died, it made little or no headway. During this attack, he was badly wounded while commanding a platoon of ‘D’ Company. Although stretcher bearers evacuated him from the battlefield, he ultimately died of his wounds later that day in Casualty Clearing Station No.8 in the small village of Duisans, northwest of Arras. He was 25 years old.

Arras was of particular significance to Scots as it saw the highest concentration of Scottish troops in a single battle, and an appalling number of Scots casualties, an estimated 18,000. William’s regiment, the Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) was in the thick of it from the first day, April 9th, though he was probably wounded in the action a fortnight later, the second battle of the Scarpe which began on 23rd April. 2nd Lieutenant William Anderson is buried in Duisans British Cemetery, Etrun in France and is remembered on the War Memorials of Hamilton Grammar School and Hamilton Town Hall as well as the University of Glasgow.


2nd Lieutenant William Anderson
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Regiment: "D" Coy. 11th Bn. attd, 9th Bn. Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)
Degree: Student
Awards: N/A
Comments: Died of wounds, 23 April 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/343
Photo ID: N/A


University of Glasgow Registry records (GUAS Ref: R8/5/31/1).

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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