The life stories of those who crewed the first tanks in September 1916

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New information about Gnr James Anderson of D22

Posted by firsttankcrews on July 6, 2017 at 5:35 PM

Just discovered that Gnr James Anderson DCM was born on 15 May 1893 at 35 Cambridge Gardens in South Leith,.  

His parents were Margaret Whitson and James Couper Anderson MA who had married in Edinburgh in 1890.  James' father was a school teacher who later became Headmaster of Albion Street School.  

James' father died on 27 July 1916 shortly before D Company deployed to France.,  James was recommended for a gallantry award following the capture of High Wood but this was not granted.

James would next see his mother in November 1917 when he returned to Bovington to join a new battalion. He retrained as a driver and returned to France in September 1918.  16th Battalion was in action within two weeks and fought hard for five weeks before they were withdrawn. 

Sadly I cannot find any record of James' mariage or death  If you have any more details, please contact me

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Reply Mike Taylor
5:52 PM on September 14, 2017 
The Scotsman Saturday 29 July 1916 has a brief one paragraph obit for the headmaster - says he left a son on military service and that his wife (ie the headmaster's) predeceased him "a few months ago". I wonder what lady he saw at Bovington?

A little checking of the Scottish records shows that the headmaster's death cert seems to give his wife's name as Margaret Whitson and then Lilias Menzies Jamieson, i.e 2 wives in sequence. His will and executry documents confirm that our tankie was son of his marriage with Margaret Whitson (22 July 1890, St George's, Edinburgh; died 16 March 1898). The wife who died shortly before JCA was Lilias (married 2 November 1912; she was a teacher half his age of 52!). James seems to have inherited or been given a lot by Margaret's father, he was pretty much written out of his father's will. James Anderson is a common name in Scotland and he could of course have emigrated to Canada, Australia, England ...
Reply MIke Taylor
4:30 PM on September 14, 2017 
A small technicality - but surely you mean Albion ROAD School?