Walter Anderson GC (EGM exchanger)

b. 27/07/1890 Skibbereen, Cork, Ireland. d. 11/05/1959 Hythe, Hampshire.

DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 10/12/1928 Leysdown, Sheerness, Kent.

Walter Anderson (1890-1959) was born in County Cork on 27th July 1890, the son of Thomas and Jane Anderson. He had a younger brother called James Richard. His father, who had been in the Navy, was by 1901 a retired naval pensioner. Walter attended a private school in Skibbereen, before in 1906, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class. From 1916 to 1918 he transferred to HMS Daedalus in the Royal Naval Air Service.

George Cross

He then joined the RAF where by 1920 he was a Technical Officer. He married in 1920 and by 1922 he was posted to Bombay, India to join 27 Squadron. He also served in Iraq during the mid 1920s becoming a Pilot Officer. By 1928, he had returned to the UK and was an Armament Officer at a Flying Training School in Kent.

On 10th December 1928, off Leysdown, Kent, Pilot Officer Constantine crashed into the sea about 200 yards off shore. Corporal McTeague and Flying Officer Anderson immediately entered the sea and swam to help. The weather was cold, the wind strong and the sea was fairly rough. Constantine had begun to swim ashore, but was in a state of collapse when McTeague reached him. McTeague supported him until Anderson reached them, and he brought to safety by their combined efforts.

Following the award of his Empire Gallantry Medal (which he was later re-invested with the George Cross in 1942), he retired from the RAF in 1932 with the rank of Staff Officer.

Little is known of Walter’s later life but he did fall onto hard times, and at the time of his death he had been living in the Officer’s Mess at Calshot, Hampshire. He died in hospital in Hythe, Kent on the 11th May 1959, aged 68. Sadly, his final resting place is unknown. His GC and 1953 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal are privately held.