- Gilbert Anderson was a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Anderson of
Blackpool, Lancashire. He was born on 14 july 1923 in Mossley
where he was educated at the St George's School. After he was educated
he worked as a milk roundsman at the age of 14. The family Anderson
later moved to Blackpool where they lived at 24
- Anderson enlisted into the Army on 22 july 1941 in Preston and was
posted at the 70th Battalion Border Regiment 0n 2 august 1941. In
september 1942 he transferred to the East Lancashire Regiment and in may
1943 he joined the Parachute Regiment where served with No. 2 Platoon, A
Company, 11th Battalion.
- Anderson flew to Arnhem from Saltby Airfield and landed on or near
Ginkel Heath on 18 september 1944, together with the rest of 11th
Battalion (and of 4rd Parachute Brigade). It was decided to send 11th
Battalion to Arnhem as fast as possible to assist 1st and 3rd Battalions
to get through to the bridge at Arnhem which was held by 2nd Battalion.
A Company was in the lead of the Battalion when they left the dropzone.
They reached Divisional Headquarters in Oosterbeek at about 1900hrs and
were given orders to move to Arnhem and make contact with 2nd Battalion
South Staffordshire Regiment, who were also sent to Arnhem to assist 1st
and 3rd Battalions. At 2330 hrs the Battalion made contact with the rear
element of the South Staffords in the western outskirts of Arnhem.
- On 19 september the South Staffords and the 11th Battalion advanced
in the area of the St Elisabeths Hospital. The authors of the book
Arnhem Their Final Battle (Gerrit Pijpers and David Truesdale) quoted
Private Gray of No. 1 Platoon, A Company about this advance: 'My
Platoon, under Lieutenant Arthur Vickers, got as far as the St
Elisabeths Hospital then all hell seemed to break loose. We took cover
behind a railway embankment with Jerry on the other side of the track.
We had a few goes at the enemy but having got the range they started
firing a shell, which exploded at tree heights, showering shrapnel
- At about 1200hrs a message was received at Battalion headquarters
that the attack on the bridge had been repulsed and that German armour
was sweeping round to the north to cut the Battalion off. B Company
withdrew to a junction west of the hospital and occupied all buildings
covering the junction. A Company were still east of the hospital,
directely behind the South Staffords. Major Gilchirst of A Company is
quoted in Arnhem Their Final Battle: 'It became apparent that
something had gone very wrong in front. Straggling groups of men of the
South Staffords suddenly started coming back down the road. A tank
appeared almost the same time in front of us and covered the road with
machine-gun fire. It fired an occasional shell in the buildings near my
company......It appeared that there were now no men of the South
Staffords in front of us, so we used the garden walls as best as we
could. The tanks stood off and knocked holes in the houses. Then they
fired phosphorous shells through these gaps. It became apparent that we
could achieve nothing from the position we occupied, as cover was
- It is most likely Gilbert Anderson was killed during the fighting
near the St Elisabeth Hospital. Reverend Daniel McGowan, who was attached to the 4rd Parachute
Brigade and who worded at the St Elisabeths Hospital, made a list with names of men who were killed or missing. On
this list he wrote several names of men who were buried by the Dutch Red
Cross at 'Park Underlangs, E of St Elizabeths Hospital, Arnhem, Holland'.
One of the names on the list is Gilbert Anderson.
- Anderson has no known grave. His name is on panel 8 of the
Groesbeek Memorial, which commemorates by name more than 1000 soldiers
who died during te campaign in north-west Europe between the time of
crossing the Seine at the end of August 1944 and the end of the war in
Europe, and whose graves are not known.
- According to the Roll of Honour published by the Society of Friends
of the Airborne Museum (Jan Hey 1999 and 2011) Anderson was buried by
members of the Dutch Red Cross on 2 october 1944. He was given a field
burial beside Onderlangs at Arnhem, opposite the St. Elizabeths Hospital.
- Gilbert Anderson is most probably buried in the Airborne Cemetery
in Oostbeek as an unknown soldier.