A tale of two soldiers

Whether we know it at the time or not, fate and coincidence often play an important part in our lives, this often comes to light while researching our family histories. On Remembrance Day 2012, this is just one story that illustrates this perfectly.

from: The Times – Christchurch, New Zealand

July 14 1915

A pathetic incident is reported in a letter received in Christchurch to-day from the Dardanelles. Two cousins, Harold and William Anderson, whose parents reside near to each other in Melbourne, answered the call for recruits, William joining a Victorian Regiment, and Harold, who was holidaying in New Zealand, enlisting with the 13th North Auckland Regiment. They had not seen each other for three years, when they were growing lads of seventeen, and their parents were naturally desirous they should meet in Egypt. However, they did not find an opportunity to do so. Both regiments were ordered to the front, and took part in the memorable landing on Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, and in succeeding battles both were in the reserve. On May 8, when that fierce battle exacted such a heavy toll among the colonials was raging each lad was unconscious of the other’s presence in the locality. Both were ordered simultaneously to reinforce the fast thinning firing line, and in the rush up the hill, while taking a breath, the cousins saw one another for the first time. They shook hands, exchanged greetings, were swept on with the rush, and did not meet again. Harold was killed in that battle and William, who is now in hospital, was shot through the neck and shoulder. Considering the circumstances, and the thousands of khaki men on the Peninsula, the meeting was a remarkable one.

Harold Richard Anderson was born on the 20th September 1894. He tried to enlist in the Army in Victoria but family stories maintain that his father would not give consent and so he went to New Zealand to visit his two sisters and enlisted there. He, like many others lied about his  age and told them he was born in 1888. After 54 days of basic training he boarded a ship for Egypt and on the 25th April he was among those that landed at Gallipoli.

William Anderson recovered from his wounds and returned to Melbourne, he died in 1971 at the age of 85.

picure of a red poppy

Lest We Forget

3 Comments

  1. Lynne's Gravatar Lynne
    April 23, 2015    

    Well, there you go! It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.
    Harold and William are also my g great uncles and John, I am delighted to meet you.
    As soon as I post this comment I will email you – we can chat.

    • John Charles Anderson's Gravatar John Charles Anderson
      April 23, 2015    

      Lynne if you go to my face book page I have posted a photo of Harold and the letter my image is in a Footscray jumper looking forward to hearing from you

  2. John Charles Anderson's Gravatar John Charles Anderson
    April 23, 2015    

    Thank you. this report is about my two great uncles Harold and William it is great but where sdid you get the info we must be related thanking you

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