Lieutenant Robert Noel Anderson



Robert Noel Anderson was born on 10 June 1883 at Osborne Park, Belfast, the eighth of eleven children of linen merchant Alexander Anderson and his wife Mary Ann (nee McLaughlin). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents and four siblings at The Park, Dunmurry, Belfast, and working as a linen merchant (having earlier completed an apprenticeship in a spinning mill).

Anderson enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 11 September 1914 (No.1204). He was promoted to lance corporal on 1 December 1914 and corporal on 19 January 1915. On 1 May 1915 he embarked for France with D Squadron. According to family recollections he took his own horse, Heidi, with him. He also spoke of moving munitions to the front under cover of darkness.

On 1 December 1915 Anderson applied for a commission in the infantry, with a preference for the Royal Irish Rifles. He left France for the UK the following month and on 29 January 1916 was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the Royal Irish Rifles, reporting for officer training to the OTC at Trinity College, Dublin.

On 22 January 1916 he married Dorothy Gladys Wilson of Knockbreda Church of Ireland Parish Church.

On 23 March 1916 Anderson transferred to the 9th Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, based at Shorncliffe in Kent. In early 1917 the 9th Reserve Regiment was absorbed into the newly-formed 2nd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, based at the Curragh in Ireland. Anderson remained with the 9th, then the 2nd Reserve Regiments throughout the war.

On 29 July 1917 he was promoted to lieutenant. He relinquished his commission on completion of his service on 28 February 1919.

After the war Anderson lived at Ballynascreen, Greenisland, County Antrim. He later moved to England – the 1939 Register shows him living with his wife at 97 Victoria Road, Leeds, and working as Yorkshire sales manager for Payless Food Preparing Machines.


Two of Anderson's brothers also served during the war – Captain William Arthur Anderson in the Royal Army Medical Corps and Captain David Mitchell Anderson in the Royal Irish Rifles.


The above images, showing Anderson as a corporal in the North Irish Horse, and as an officer in the Cavalry Reserve, were kindly provided by Robert Anderson's grandson, James Witchell.