Lance Corporal James Anderson


James Anderson was born on 29 May 1893 at Craigs, Ballymena, County Antrim, the first of eight children of labourer (later greenkeeper) John Anderson and his wife Jane (née Marshall). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living in Princes Street, Ballymena, with his parents and his six surviving siblings, and working in the grocery trade.

Anderson enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 25 and 27 November 1915 (No.1981 – later Corps of Hussars No.71653). The Ballymena Observer of 3 December reported:

Amongst the recruits to the North Irish Horse this week are Messrs. James Anderson, Brocklamount; William Stevenson, Crankill; Harry Welsh, Cullybackey. Mr. James Anderson is the eldest son of Mr. John Anderson, greenkeeper of the Ballymena Bowling Club. He has a younger brother, Jack, at present serving in France with the 12th Batt. R.I.R. Mr William Stevenson is a son of the late Wilson Stevenson, of Crankill. He was formerly employed in Mr. Cameron's, Mill Street, and both he and James Anderson have for some years past occupied good positions in Liverpool, which they gave up at the call of their King and country. Mr. Harry Welsh is a son of the late Carson Welsh, Ballee. He returned from New Zealand some time ago, and resided with his brother-in-law, Dr. Dick, at Cullybackey. He is an enthusiastic member of the Cullybackey Golf Club.

Anderson trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve camp before embarking for France sometime between 1916 and 1918, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment. This regiment served as corps cavalry to VII, XIX, then V Corps from its establishment in May 1916 until February-March 1918, when it was dismounted and converted to a cyclist unit, serving as corps cyclists to V Corps until the end of the war.

During 1918 Anderson applied for a commission. He embarked for the UK for officer cadet training, arriving at No.1 Reception Battalion for Candidates for Commissions around September 1918. The war ended, however, before his training was completed, and on 17 March 1919 he was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.