Corporal James Anderson



James Anderson was born on 18 June 1895 at Drennan, Drumbeg, County Down, the first of six children of farmer (later corporation labourer) William John Anderson and his wife Margaret (née Abernethy). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Flax Street, Belfast, with his parents, an aunt, and his four surviving siblings, and working in the grocery business.

Anderson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at some point following the declaration of war in August 1914 (regimental number unknown). He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp until November 1916, when he and around 100 other North Irish Horsemen volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Anderson was issued regimental number 40849), and on that day the men embarked for France. There they were posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, joining it on the Somme front on 12 December.

Anderson was wounded during Third Ypres in August 1917, and again during the retreat from St Quentin from 21 to 28 March 1918. Whether he saw any further front-line service is not known at present.


Anderson's brother Lewis also served in the war, in the Motor Transport section of the Army Service Corps.


James Anderson's Brodie helmet, which was on display at the Lisburn Museum exhibition in 2016.


Images courtesy of Nigel Henderson, researcher at History Hub Ulster.