John Reginald Anderson
Lieutenant, Royal Air Force
John Reginald Anderson, born 22 March 1897, lived at 82 Wood Vale, Forest Hill and was a student at Alleyn’s until he left 1913 at 16 years old. He was an enthusiastic sportsman and gained a reputation as a good, fast bowler when playing for his House and the School Eleven.
Upon leaving school he went to work for a company called PMG, part of the GPO in London and qualified as an Electrical Engineer. His father, John was listed as a "Currier and Leather Merchant" and de Ruvignny's Roll of Honour also records John junior as an Electrician and Leather Merchant so it would appear that after qualifying as an Electrical Engineer he went to work for his father.
He initially joined the war effort as a Private of the London Scottish in April 1916 and fought in France and Flanders from July 1916 for the best part of a year. He was gazetted into the Royal Air Force in June 1917 and had obtained his wings by 2nd October the same year. As a pilot he played an important role in British operations by providing aerial support to the infantry during battle. Having completed his flying training with 93 Squadron he was posted to the Expeditionary Force once again where he served on the Western Front with 60th Squadron Royal Air Force until being killed in action near Amiens on 13th August 1918 as the British mounted operations against the now exhausted German Army. He is buried near the town at Rosieres cemetery, Plot: III. F. 14
60th Sqn was formed in Gosport in April 1916 and was dispatched to France a month later equipped with Morane-Saulnier N aircraft. It suffered heavy losses during the battle of the Somme and was re-equipped with Nieuport Scouts and built up an excellent reputation. In July 1917, shortly after John Anderson was gazetted into the RAF 60th Squadron was again re-equipped, with the SE5 fighter which remained with the Squadron until 1920. So it was this aircraft that he was flying on the day he was killed in action.
Information for this biography has been taken from the 1911 Census; du Ruvigny's Roll of Honour; The Commonwealth War Graves Commission; Great Britain Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950 (via ancestry.co.uk) and JR Anderson's Royal Air Force Officers' Record Card.