Eric Anderson

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Eric Anderson
Anderson Eric.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 20 Apr 1920
Place of Birth Subiaco, Western Australia
Death 22 Aug 1967, aged 47
Place of Death Fremantle, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 20 years, 1 month
Occupation Farm hand
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Oakford via Byford, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Claude Thomas Anderson
Military Information
Reg Number WX2872
Date of Enlistment 20 May 1940
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 26 Oct 1940 ‒ 4 Nov 1940
Transport Details HMT Aquitania Convoy US 6 Fremantle to Bombay
Journey Dates 12 Nov 1940 ‒ 25 Nov 1940
Transport Details HMT Rajula (?) Convoy BN 8.5 Bombay to El Kantara, Egypt
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 29 Jan 1942 ‒ 6 Feb 1942
Transport Details SS Île de France Convoy JS3 Port Tewfik to Bombay
Journey Dates 9 Feb 1942 ‒ 23 Mar 1942
Transport Details SS Madras City Convoy SU 1 Bombay to Adelaide
2nd Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 6 Aug 1942 ‒ 13 Aug 1942
Transport Details SS James Fenimore Cooper Brisbane to Port Moresby
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 29 Dec 1942 ‒ 30 Dec 1942
Transport Details plane Port Moresby to Brisbane
3rd Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 2 Aug 1943 ‒ 5 Aug 1943
Transport Details SS Canberra Townsville to Port Moresby
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 15 Feb 44 ‒ 18 Feb 1944
Transport Details SS Canberra Port Moresby to Townsville
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia (three times)
Discharged on Medical grounds (Malaria)
Monument(s) ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
Pacific Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

War Service

Enlisted on 20 May 1940, and allocated to the 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion, and granted 10 days leave without pay. On 30 May 1940 he reported to the Northam camp where on 12 Aug 1940 he was admitted to hospital with Influenza and Pharyngitis. Discharged from hospital on 28 Aug 1940 he resumed training. Eric was granted pre-embarkation leave from 27 Sep until 4 Oct 1940. On 25 Oct 1940 he embarked on the HMT Aquitania for the Middle East, disembarking with his unit in Bombay, India on 4 Nov 1940. Transported to camps, they remained ashore for up to 5 days before boarding much smaller ships for Kantara on the Suez Canal in Egypt. The records for all members of the 2/16th Battalion only record embarkation and disembarkation, no names of ships are provided, nor mention of their transfer in Bombay. On 25 Nov 1940 they arrived at Kantara on one of the following four steamers: Christian Huygens, Lancashire, Dilwarra or Rhona.[1]

The battalion disembarked on 25 Nov 1940 and it undertook defensive duties along the Egyptian–Libyan border in early 1941 before taking part in the Syria–Lebanon campaign, fighting against Vichy French forces in June and July. At the conclusion of the campaign, the 2/16th Battalion remained in Lebanon, contributing to the Allied occupation force there, before returning to Australia in early 1942 following Japan's entry into the war.

On 1 Feb 1941 Eric was graded as a Group III Driver Mechanic, and on 31 Jul 1941 he was evacuated to the 2/1st Australian General Hospital with a septic right foot. Discharged to the 21st Australian Infantry Training Battalion on 8 Aug 1941 he rejoined his unit on 15 Aug 1941. On 8 Oct 1941 he was admonished for having been found guilty of Conduct to the prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline.

On 30 Jan 1942 he embarked on SS Île de France a part of Convoy JS3, for Bombay, where they disembarked on 6 Feb 1942 and were sent to camps to await their embarkation on smaller, slower ships in the convoy that would carry them to Singapore. Eric was allocated to the SS Madras City. The convoy set out for Singapore on 9 Feb 1942, and refuelled at Colombo. When Singapore surrendered on 15 Feb 1942 the slow moving convoy was approaching the Sunda Straits, and given that the Japanese had already landed on many of the Dutch East Indian islands (Indonesia), the convoy's destination was changed on the orders of Churchill to Rangoon, Burma to assist with its defence. Australian Prime Minister Curtin, however, was determined to bring every possible soldier home to defend Australia and demanded that the convoy, now re-designated as Convoy SU1, turn around and sail for Australian ports. On 25 Feb 1942 the convoy again refuelled in Colombo, leaving there on 1 Mar 1942 for Fremantle which it reached on 15 Mar 1942. Around 350 of the members of the 2/16th Battalion from the SS Kosciusko failed to reboard when the convoy sailed for Port Adelaide which the SS Madras City reached on 23 Mar 1942.[2]

With the Japanese invasion of Papua New Guinea the battalion was rushed to Queensland for brief Jungle training and on 6 Aug 1942 embarked in Brisbane on the SS James Fenimore Cooper for Port Moresby, disembarking on 13 Aug 1942. On arrival Eric was detached to the New Guinea Forces Composite Carrier Group, attached to the HQ 7th Australian Division.

On 21 Dec 1942 he was admitted to the 2/9th Australian General Hospital with an infection and evacuated by plane on 29 Dec 1942 to the 6th Australian Casualty Clearing Station at Ipswich. On 13 Jan 1943 they passed him to the 117th Australian General Hospital at Toowoomba, and six days later he was released to the 102nd Australian Convalescent Depot at Warwick. Following time in a Staging Depot he was sent to WA by train, arriving there on 11 Feb 1943 and given leave until 25 Feb 1943. On 2 Mar 1943 he was placed on a train for Queensland to rejoin the 2/16th Battalion. On 8 Mar 1943 he failed to appear at a place of parade for which he was admonished.

Reclassified from Driver to Cook on 13 May 1943, he was transferred to the Australian Army Catering Corps on 13 Jul 1943, attached to the 2/16th Battalion and he embarked in Townsville on 2 Aug 1943 aboard SS Canberra for Port Moresby, arriving there on 5 Aug 1943. Admitted to the 2/4th Australian Field Ambulance on 18 Sep 1943, he was evacuated to the 111th Australian Casualty Clearing Station on 7 Dec 1943 with malaria. He returned to his unit on 18 Dec 1943 and on 9 Jan 1944 ceased his role as a cook at his own request. On 15 Jan 1944 he was admitted to the 2/5th Australian General Hospital with malaria again, and on 15 Feb 1944 he embarked on SS Canberra for Townsville, arriving there on 18 Feb 1944. On 25 Mar 1944 he was sent to the 110th Australian Base Hospital Perth.

His marital position changed on 4 Mar 1944, with marriage in St Mathew's Church, Armadale to Sylvia May Bailey who was living at Fifth road, Armadale, and on 12 Apr 1944 he was released from Hospital. However, on 25 Apr 1944, in Queensland, he was again struck down by malaria and seen by the 105th Australian Casualty Clearing Station before being sent to the 7th Division's Rest Camp and then to his unit the 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion on 1 Jun 1944. Hospitalised again on 7 Sep 1944 with the 2/6th Australian General Hospital on the Atherton tableland, he was released to the 2nd Australian Convalescent Rest Centre on 19 Sep 1944 and then sent back to WA for discharge on medical grounds on 21 Sep 1944. Discharged in Perth on 11 Oct 1944.

Post War

By 1957 Eric and Sylvia were separated.

In a Statutory Declaration on 17 Jan 1962 Eric gave his address as Fremantle Prison with Number 26421. Inmate or Prison Officer ??


  1. Across the Sea to War, Peter Plowman, Rosenberg, 2003 pp 155-160
  2. Across the Sea to War, Peter Plowman, Rosenberg, 2003, pp 325-364.

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