Captain Mathew Anderson

Biography of Captain Mathew Anderson

Mathew Anderson was born on 17th August 1886, he was the only son (he had five sisters) of William Boyd Anderson, a well-known city lawyer, and his wife, Jacobina Anderson (nee Croll). The family lived at 1 Grosvenor Crescent in the west end and Mathew attended nearby Glasgow Academy before completing his schooling at Fettes College.

Aged eighteen in 1904, Mathew enrolled in the classes of Latin and Greek at the University, taking the first steps in a curriculum which would lead to an M.A. in 1907 and LL.B in 1911. Though his passage through the Arts Faculty was relatively smooth, he took a few attempts to clear the hurdles of the Law syllabus. His pleasure in successful completion, however, must have been overshadowed by the death of his mother in the same year, 1911.

Mathew was establishing his career as a Solicitor with Anderson Pattison in Glasgow when the war began. He took a commission with the 9th Bn. (Glasgow Highlanders) Highland Light Infantry, and travelled to France to serve with the Battalion.

During the summer of 1916, Mathew was involved in the Battle of High Wood (14th July to 15th September). The German-occupied High Wood was an advantageous position for snipers and machine gunners, and the Germans had managed to halt British advances into the area. A number of failed attacks by the British army in July had led to a huge loss of life.

As the Battle continued into August, the 9th Bn were ordered to capture the enemy trench running from Wood Lane to the Flers Road. A number of regiments, including the 9th Bn, the 2nd Worcesters, and the 16th King's Royal Rifle Corps, were instructed to attack at midnight on the 21st August. Captain Anderson was to lead the attack on the right.

The attack broke down when the 2nd Worcesters failed to advance. Before the attack could be stopped, the 9th Bn advanced, but had to fall back without gaining any ground. Captain Anderson was killed in the advance, on the 22nd August 1916, only a few days before his thirtieth birthday.

Captain Mathew Anderson was buried near High Wood, however his remains were later interred at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval. A stone at Cathcart Cemetery adds his name to that of his family.

Summary

Captain Mathew Anderson
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 9th Bn. (Glasgow Highlanders) Highland Light Infantry
Degree: MA LLB
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 22 August 1916.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/635
Photo ID: N/A

Sources

University of Glasgow Faculty and Registry Records (GUAS Ref: R4/1/4, R4/2/3 and R/6/29/1).

Burial Place: Commonwealth Graves Commission - Debt of Honour Register

Additional information supplied by Robina Newton, a relative of Captain Anderson.

More information about Captain Anderson's role in the Battle of High Wood can be found in Terry Norman's book, “The Hell They Called High Wood. The Somme 1916.” Pen & Sword Books Ltd. 2009 pp 133-134

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