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Bill Anderson - the Great War

Continuing his story and finding out about his service during WW1.

WORLD WAR 1 SERVICE RECORD

The Service Record shows his service number was S/23158 but that he was at some point issued with a new number S/151306 (which was the one quoted on the CWGC memorial after his death).  He was enlisted on 16th January 1915, aged 19 years 1 month with an address of Craigower, Causeway End, Coupar Angus.  His occupation, at this young age, was “Baker”.  He was just 5 foot 5.5 inches tall.

 He was enlisted into the Army Service Corps, later to become the Royal Army Service Corps.

The duties of someone in the Army Service Corps’ (ASC) were extensive The Long, Long Trail website, about the British Army, says : The unsung heroes of the British army in the Great War - the ASC, Ally Sloper's Cavalry. "Soldiers cannot fight without food, equipment and ammunition.  In the Great War, the vast majority of this tonnage, supplying a vast army on many fronts, was supplied from Britain. Using horsed and motor vehicles, railways and waterways, the ASC performed prodigious feats of logistics and were one of the great strengths of organisation by which the war was won.” 

The enlistment papers give the next of kin as JANE RAMSEY or Erskine (no idea about this name ?) with the same address as William.  It was this which lead me to a direct connection between the census records above and the WW1 service record (see PDF).

The statement of service is not easy to interpret so I wrote to the Gordon Highlanders Museum, which I had visited while up in Scotland, and their expert kindly explained his service record in plain English :

William Anderson enlisted voluntarily into the Army Service Corps (later to become the Royal Army Service Corps) in January 1915 as a Private, and went to France on 10.04.1915 with the 51st Field Bakery.  On a date, which is unclear on the form, but could be within a month or so, he was compulsorily transferred to the 2nd/14th London Regiment, i.e. 2/14th London Scottish.

Most of his service was with the 2ndBN, 14th (County of London) Battalion, The London Scottish (The Gordon Highlanders).  From September 1914 until 22 June 1916 the 2/14th London Scottish were based in London, Dorking, Watford, Saffron Walden and Bishop’s Stortford before serving a few months in Ireland on security duties after the Irish Rebellion. They then served:

22/06/1916 – 26/11/1916

France and Flanders in 179 Brigade, 60th Division.

26/11/1916 – 30/06/1917

Salonika in same Division.

30/06/1917 – 30/05/1918

Egypt in same Division. Official date of landing at Alexandria 03/07/1917.

30/05/1918 – 11/11/1918

Left Egypt on 30 May 1918 and 60th Division. Travelled to France and Flanders via Taranto. Became part of 90 Brigade, 30th Division.

11/11/1918

Was at Avelghem, Belgium on this date.

After WW1 he would have been awarded three medals:

1914 – 1915 Star

1914 – 1920 War Medal

WW1 Victory Medal

The London Scottish, a Territorial Regiment in its own right, came under the ‘parentage’ of the Gordons through affiliation.  William Anderson appears to have been posted as a Gordon Highlander as such only on 1.09.1918, being shown at the Regimental Depot on that date. The Depot was then at Castlehill Barracks, Aberdeen.

On 3.12.1918 he was put on the strength of the 3rd Reserve Battalion Gordons, which during WW1 remained at Aberdeen with HQ at King Street Barracks. Amongst one of this Battalion’s duties was to provide the Garrison for the City.

After a minor misdemeanour on 6.01.1919 he is shown as being demobbed from the army on 16.02.1919 to his home address in Coupar Angus. The army number S/151306 is a Royal Army Service Corps number which he would have been given sometime after 1.05.1917. This is the number under which he served during WW2, also with the RASC.

NB The Gordon Highlanders includes the 14th battalion London Regiment, later London Regiment (London Scottish), Gordon Highlanders.  This is one of the few units of the British army that wore kilts in WW1.

Read about Bill's childhood, his WW1 experiences or, finally, his WW2 exploits.


Linked toWilliam Anderson Lamond

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