William Herbert Anderson VC

Name: William Herbert Anderson

Conflict: First World War

Gazetted: May 3, 1918

Service: Army

William Herbert Anderson VC
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Glasgow, Scotland/December 29, 1881

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Acting Lieutenant Colonel

Date of bravery: March 25, 1918

London Gazette citation:

T./Maj. (A./Lt.-Col.) William Herbert Anderson, late H.L.I. [Highland Light Infantry]

For most conspicuous bravery, determination, and gallant leading of his command.

The enemy attacked on the right of the battalion frontage, and succeeded in penetrating the wood held by our men. Owing to successive lines of the enemy following on closely there was the gravest danger that the flank of the whole position would be turned. Grasping the seriousness of the situation, Colonel Anderson made his way across the open in full view of the enemy now holding the wood on the right, and after much effort succeeded in gathering the remainder of the two right companies. He personally led the counter-attack and drove the enemy from the wood, capturing twelve machine guns and seventy prisoners, and restoring the original line.

His conduct in leading the charge was quite fearless and his most splendid example was the means of rallying and inspiring the men during a most critical hour.

Later on the same day, in another position, the enemy had penetrated to within three hundred yards of the village and were holding a timber-yard in force. Colonel Anderson reorganised his men after they had been driven in and brought them forward to a position of readiness for a counter-attack. He led the attack in person and throughout showed the utmost disregard for his own safety.

The counter-attack drove the enemy from his position, but resulted in this very gallant officer losing his life.

He died fighting within the enemy’s lines, setting a magnificent example to all who were privileged to serve under him.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: Bois Favières, near Maricourt, France/March 25, 1918

Grave/memorials: Péronne Road Cemetery, Maricourt, France

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2016

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum