The AIF Project

Edward Hanfield ANDERSON

Regimental number3230
Place of birthMelbourne, Victoria
Other NamesANDERSON, Edward Handfield
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationBank teller
Address32 Jolimont Terrace, Jolimont, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 8.25"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinFather, E Anderson, 32 Jolimont Terrace, Jolimont, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date9 July 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll9 July 1915
Place of enlistmentGeelong, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name8th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/25/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 11 October 1915
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll57th Battalion

2nd Lieutenant

Unit: 57th Battalion
Promotion date: 12 March 1916

FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Age at death from cemetery records30
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsV.C. Corner Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Edward and Florence ANDERSON, 32 Jolimont Terrace, Jolimont, Victoria. Native of Kew, Victoria
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne on board HMATA71 'Nestor'.

Promoted 2nd Lieutenant, Ismailia, 12 March 1916.

Taken on strength, 57th Bn, Tel-el-Kebir, 26 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join British Expeditionary Force, 17 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 24 June 1916.

Posted missing, 19 July 1916.

Court of Inquiry, held in the field, 8 August 1916, found that 'unless in Hospital Lists or Lists of Prisoners of War he has been Killed in Action on 20/7/16.'; subsequent ruling by the Assistant Adjutant General, ANZAC Section, 3rd Echelon, General Headquarters, British Expeditionary Force, stated Anderson was to be reported killed in action.

Sergeant A. Jessup provided evidence to the Court of Inquiry and stated, 'I was one of a party of NCOs who were detailed with 2/Lt E H Anderson on the evening of the 18th July 1916 to remain in the trench length which one company had handed to A Coy 59 Battn, for the purpose of giving them information and assistance with regards to the working of the trench length. I remained in the trenches during that night and on the next morning reported myself to Mr Anderson for further instructions. He told me that he had heard nothing from Coy HQs and that he was awaiting instructions from them. Having heard nothing from Mr Anderson I again reported to him at about three o'clock in the afternoon but again could get no information. At about half an hour before the first wave went out I once more reported and this time he said to me I am going to put my fighting order on as I have had no instructions to return to my Company. He told me to remain with the platoon to which I was attached (No 4 platoon 59 Battn) and follow in rear. This was the last I saw of 2/Lt E H Anderson and to the best of my knowledge and belief he went forward with the 59 Battn when the attacked.' An undated statement in the file of Second Lieutenant Anderson stated, 'on July 18th the 59th Battalion relieved the 57th in the line at FROMELLES and 2/Lt. ANDERSON was left behind to hand over stores and information to [the] incoming battalion. He remained with them until the following day. On the afternoon of 19th the 59th Battalion along other Battalions attacked the enemy trenches and it is supposed that 2/Lt Anderson either in error or in the excitement of the attack "went over" with the 59th Battalion and nothing has since been heard of him.' Enquiries with 59th Bn yielded no further information despite, as the Commanding Officer of 57th Bn noted on 10 August 1916, 'every endeavour was made to get evidence from this source [59th Bn]. A response to 57th Bn?s efforts was made by an unnamed Captain who was at the time 59th Bn's temporary commanding officer. He wrote in an undated memorandum, 'No information regarding the burial of this Officer [Anderson] can be ascertained in this Battalion. Several enquiries have been made regarding this question, but nothing definite has ever been obtained.' Lieutenant-Colonel H Stewart did however surmise in a letter to Anderson's brother, A.C. Anderson on 10 August 1916, 'your brother was attached to another Battalion in an attack on that date [19 July 1916] and was in the third line in a charge. As far as can be ascertained none of this Battalion reached the enemy trenches, being stopped by a machine gun fire and your brother did not come in when the order to retire was given.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 81001, 3412 Pte M.F. MAHONEY, A Company, 57th Bn (patient, Queen Mary's Royal Naval Hospital, Southend, England), 28 August 1916: 'Informant states that on "July 20th 1916 at 'No Man's Land' Lt. Anderson went over with the 59th and was seen in the front. out in the open badly wounded in the abdomen. He could not live and we left him there, we had to.'

Second statement, 9527 Pte A. KING, D Company, 57th Bn (patient, 3rd Southern General Hospital, Cowley, Oxford, England), 11 September 1916: 'Informant states that on 19th July, 1916, "not far from Armentieres, there was a big raid on the 1st German trench". A number of men were collected, provided with bombs and told to rush the trench. Informant says "Lt. Anderson wasn't supposed to go over, but I suppose he got a bit excited so many getting wounded and one thing and another, so he went over with the crowd and wasn't seen again." Informant says that the German counter-attack was almost simultaneous with ours. The men merely merely bombed the German front trench and were driven straight back.'

Third statement, 4155 Pte D.P. NOLAN, 57th Bn (patient, St Mark's Hospital, King's Road, Chelsea, England), 13 September 1916: 'Informant states that on the 19th July at 6 o'clock in the evening 2nd Lieut Anderson was in the charge made by the 57th Batt. A.I.F. This was on the Levantie Front near Sailly. Lieut Anderson was wounded and left on No Man's Land and it was afterwards reported that he was dead.'

Fourth statement, Cptan H.S. DICKINSON, 57th Bn, 4 October 1916: 'As far as we have been able to learn the last that was seen of him was a few yards out from our parapet in No Man's Land.'

Fifth statement, 4768 Pte J.J. QUINN, 57th Bn (patient, 23rd General Hospital, Etaples), 8 November 1916: 'Sgt. Jess told me that he was with Lt. Anderson at Flower Bay (sic). They were close to the German lines when Lt. Anderson gave the word to go back. Sgt. Jess retired, thinking that Lt. Anderson was close behind him, but on looking aorund found that he had disappeared. there was no opporunity for search, for several days, owing to heavy bombardment.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ANDERSON Edward Hanfield
Red Cross file 81001

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