2nd Lieutenant James Skelton Anderson

Date of Birth 04 September 1897
Age at Death 19
Date of Death 10 October 1916
Service Number
Military Service King's Royal Rifle Corps
Merton Address Stamford House, 23 West Side, The Common, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Wimbledon Parish Church

Additional Information

Born in Kennington, London on 4 September 1897, James was the eldest child of ship owner Kenneth Skelton Anderson and his wife, Louisa. Although born in Hampstead, Kenneth is likely to have had Scottish ancestry, given the naming of his children. In addition to James, he and his wife also had two younger sons, Kenneth Angus and Hew. In the year when James was born, his father joined major shipping company, Anderson, Anderson and Co. (Possibly a family firm.)

In 1901 the Andersons were living at Tumsell Woods, Hempstead Road, Watford. Kenneth snr was clearly a man of means as his household included at least four servants. He appears to have had some sort of diplomatic role during his career, for in 1909 he was given the Order of St. Michael and St. George, an honour usually bestowed on men who held high office in other territories of the British Empire.

By 1911 the family had moved to Stamford House, 23 West Side, Wimbledon Common. The boys are not shown in the local census and are likely to have been away at boarding school. James is known to have been educated at the prep school, St. Aubyns, in Rottingdean, Sussex, before attending the prestigious Harrow School in Middlesex.

Following the outbreak of war, James enlisted in the army and was gazetted as a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the 21st Battalion, Kings Royal Rifle Corps on 26 August 1915. This has traditionally been known as one of the most aristocratic regiments in the British Army. He served with the British Expeditionary Force in France from 5 May 1916 and was wounded in action on 7 October 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He died of his wounds three days later at a Casualty Clearing Station near Albert, Northern France. He was just 19 years old.

James is one of 2878 identified casualties buried in the Heilly Station Cemetery, south-west of Albert, France. His name also appears on a monumental inscription at Wimbledon Parish Church. It is alongside that of his younger brother Kenneth, a 16 year old naval midshipman who was killed in November 1914, when H M S Bulwark was sunk near Sheerness.

Despite the loss of their precious sons, the Anderson family continued to support the war effort. As a leading maritime figure, Kenneth snr was a member of the Shipping Control Committee between 1915 and 1921 – helping to protect British interests by controlling the passage of ships between foreign ports. He was knighted in 1919 for his service to the Crown and became Baronet, Sir Kenneth Skelton Anderson of the Yair, Galashiels.


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