Anderson, Robert 'Rocky'

Service # A3044
Unit # 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, R.C.A.C.

Robert  ‘Rocky’ Anderson was born 17/01/19 in Keithly, Yorkshire, England. Son of Robert and Rebecca Anderson of 12 Harvey St., Chatham. Robert Sr., a member of the CEF, had married and thought of staying in the UK. In 1920 now with ten month old Rocky the family immigrated to Canada, eventually settling in Chatham, ON. at 12 Harvey St. Robert Sr. would pass away in 1927 leaving Rebecca with Robert Jr. and two sistes Jean and Margaret. It was a tough life on Rebecca and her children money being very short.

To help out Robert Joined the Kent Regt. Pre-war, they paid 50 cents a night and it was while with the Kents that he picked up the nickname ‘Rockey’ partly due his liking to box. Robert also joined the Boy Scouts, likely a good source of male supervision he lacked due to the loss of his father. While attending the Kents for military training ‘Rocky’ acquired a familiarity with the military and the use of weapons, in particular the Lewis light machine gun.

Robert attended Central School and then Chatham Vocational School. After CVS he worked as a baker, truck driver, motor mechanic and up to his enlistment he worked at Goodison’s Fishery. Robert was also reported to be an “enthusiastic athlete a member of football and hockey teams in Chatham.

In an unidentified news paper article after  “Rocky’s death it was reported that “ Anderson enlisted in the Canadian Forces in September of 1939 and was one of the first men from this city to join the colours”. It may be that he joined the Kent’s and would later enlist in London to go overseas. Enlisted 2/02/1942 in London, ON. to the Royal Canadian Regiment. He would train at Wosley Barracks, London and then to Valcartier, PQ. ‘Rocky’ went overseas 18/12/1939 arriving in England on 30/12/1939 and due to the dire conditions on the continent went to France seeing action as a Lance Sergeant, with the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, R.C.A.C. He would ultimately see the shore of France at Dunkirk as one of the 338,000 evacuated from Europe.

During the next months, while they tried to rebuild and re-equip the Army in England, Robert would have some free time during which he met a nurse Betty White and they fell in love. Sadly Betty would become one of the many victims of the German “Blitz” in 1940 on London.

After nurse White’s death Robert joined the commandos perhaps to help him forget the pain of losing his fiancée the training probably helped. In October of 1942 he became engaged to Eileen Mary Wilkes a Pte. In the ATS and they married the 16th of February, 1943 in Battersea, London, England. CDN 10/10/43. and would have a baby boy. [unidentified new article]

In August of 1943 no attached to the 4th Reconnacence Regt. and part of “Operation Husky”, the invasion of Sicily and on to italy the “Soft underbelly of Europe” ‘Rocky would be wouned, recovered he returned to his unit in time for the capture of Rome June 1944 (D-Day in Normandy). On September 1st 1944 Rocky’s platoon was ambushed by the Germans six members survived the attack L-Sgt. Robert Anderson died of gun shot wounds to the abdomen. Amongst his personal effects was found one pair of baby booties, he and Eileen had a baby son at the time ten months old. 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Supplemental Information Age: 24, DOW, Date of Death: 01/09/1944, Reported KIA (actually DOW) CDN 12/09/44. Eileen and the baby came to Canada to meet Robert’s family 26 October, 1944. In and article in the CDN 9/02/45 Pt. John Giffin mentions “Rocky”; “We just knew him as Rocky and he was a grand chap, and well spoken of everywhere he went.” He knew Rocky had been killed, “and there was sorrow among all of his friends and he certainly had a lot of them.” Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead, Grave/Memorial Reference: I. F. 13. Cemetery: MONTECCHIO WAR CEMETERY. Index of Overseas Deaths. {(P) C-K Museum}. ATNCB, CDN 9/02/45.
Age 24
Birthplace Keithly, Yorkshire, England
When Enlisted 02-02-1942
Where Enlisted London, Ontario

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