Topic: Frederick Andrew Anderson
Frederick Andrew Anderson was a First World War Canterbury soldier whose life is commemorated on the Waltham War Memorial Gates.
Frederick Andrew ANDERSON
Frederick Andrew Anderson was born in 1885, the son of Laura and Andrew Anderson and lived with his parents and brothers and sisters at “Merchiston” in Saint Martin’s Road. He worked as an engineer in his family firm, Andersons Ltd, a large foundry established by his grandfather.
Frederick was no stranger to the military life. He had been a territorial volunteer in the First Canterbury Regiment, rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. At the start of the war, he applied for a commission in the Field Engineers, an application that was backed up by a recommendation by his former colonel in the Territorials, who considered that Frederick was an excellent candidate for a commission.
Frederick Anderson was what would be considered a fine figure of a man. He was tall, 6’1”, and in perfect health. He embarked for England on the 25 of July 1916, as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 15th Reinforcements of the Canterbury Infantry, C Company, service number 15445. His transport ship was the “Waitemata” (HMNZT59). He was transferred to France, arriving there on the 26th of October, 1916.
He was killed in action on 7 June, 1917, on the first day of the battle at Messines Ridge. He was 32.
There were a large number of New Zealand casualties at Messines Ridge and subsequent actions in Belgium, and many of those who fell there had no known grave. Frederick Anderson’s name appears with the other fallen at the Messines Ridge Memorial (NZ), part of the British Cemetery at Messines, Belgium, which commemorates over 800 soldiers of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who died in or near Messines in 1917 and 1918.
Frederick is also remembered on the Christ’s College Chapel wall memorial for old boys and masters who died on service in the Great War.
A few months after Frederick’s death, his father Andrew applied to the Summit Road Scenic Reserves Board for permission to build a memorial to his son at the summit of Witch Hill, at the top of Rapaki Track. A stone seat was erected there, and may still be visited today, in memory of Frederick and other local men who died as a result of the war. The inscription reads “On the hills he loved, this seat is erected by his parents, in memory of Frederick Andrew Anderson, who fell at Messines, 7th June, 1917…”