A paving stone to commemorate the centenary of Lieutenant Colonel William Herbert Anderson’s posthumous award of the Victoria Cross was unveiled at the People’s Palace Glasgow on Sunday the 25th March 2018 by two of his great-great-grand-daughters.
Standard bearers Billy Neilson RHF Association (left) and Eric Wallace HLI Association (right)
On 25/3/18 at Bois Favieres, near Maricourt, France, when the enemy attack had penetrated a wood on the right of his line and there was grave danger that the flank of the whole position would be turned, Lt. Colonel Anderson gathered together the remainder of his two companies, counter-attacked and drove the Germans from the wood, capturing 12 machine guns and 70 prisoners. Later the same day, Lt. Col. Anderson led another counter-attack which resulted in the enemy being driven from his position, but the Lt. Colonel died fighting within enemy lines.
Lt. Col. William “Bertie” Anderson was one of four brothers from Lansdowne Crescent in the west end of Glasgow, who served in the HLI in WW1. They were all killed. A novel, The Way Home, written by Robin Scott-Elliot, Bertie’s great-grandson was published in 2007 telling their story. William Herbert Anderson is buried in Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, France.
The folowing message was sent to the HLI Association by Alastair Shepherd, son of former HLI and RHF Colonel Ken Shepherd, who along with his brothers Nigel and Robin, visited the grave of Wiliam Herbert Anderson VC in France on Sunday the 25th March 2018. A fine tribute to both their father and to “Bertie” Anderson…
“Alastair, Nigel and Robin Shepherd are the sons of Colonel Ken Shepherd, ex HLI and RHF. They decided to arrange a trip to the Western Front in 2018, specifically to visit Loos and Sanctuary Wood, where Ken’s father had fought with 4th Gordons in the Great War. By chance they realised they would be in France on the centenary of the death of Lieutenant-Colonel W H “Bertie” Anderson. Anderson had not only served in the HLI, won the VC, he had also been at school at Fettes College ( as had Ken and his children) and had been a member of Moredun House while at Fettes, again like the Shepherd boys. There was therefore no debate, they had to ensure they were at Peronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt on the 25th to honour his memory.
A simple cross was placed at the graveside in his memory.” Alastair Shepherd.
Lt Col Anderson’s Victoria Cross is on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery in the Imperial War Museum, London.
Further images from the ceremony at Glasgow’s People’s Palace:
L-R Jim Urquhart Billy Neilson Eric Wallace John Lamont
Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant Eva Bolander, Glasgow’s Lord Provost, welcomed members of Lt Col Anderson’s family; including his grandson, two grand-daughters, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Representatives were also present from The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Royal Highland Fusiliers and of course The Highland Light Infantry.
Captain Witherspoon read the citation and Corporal McLean played a selection of pipes tunes, including the slow march of The 74th Highlanders (The Highland Light Infantry) – both are members of The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
Jim Urquhart and Billy Neilson
Eric Wallace and John Lamont
HLI WW2 veteran John Lamont Chevalier de la Legion D’Honneur
Lord Provost Eva Bolander lays a wreath
Standards of a Proud Heritage
Photos courtesy of Thomas McCann and Alastair Shepherd