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Maurice Anderson

Maurice Anderson  was the oldest son of John Robert and Sarah Ann(nee Lacy) who were married in Thixendale Church on February 24th 1897.

Maurice was born 10th August 1897 and baptised 29th August 1897 at St Peter’s, Norton. John gave his profession at the baptism as Bricklayer. As so often, his parents seem to have anticipated their wedding – he was born six months after the marriage.

In 1901 the family was living on Mill Street in Norton. It seems likely that they had lost one child Ellen who was born at the end of the year 1899 and died in the Autumn of 1900, and in the autumn of 1901 they had another son Charles Lacey who died the following summer.

1901 Census -56, Mill Street, Norton, Malton, Yorkshire

John R. Anderson, Head, Married, Male, 29, , Bricklayer, Norton, Malton, Yorkshire

Sarah A. Anderson, Wife, Married, Female, 28, , -, Thixendale, Yorkshire

Maurice Anderson, Son, -, Male, 3, , Norton, Malton, Yorkshire

Clarice M. Anderson, Daughter, -, Female, 1, , Norton, Malton, Yorkshire

By the time of the 1911 Census they had moved to Wood Street and had lost another very short-lived child, probably Nellie who was born and died in the autumn of 1908. Sadly the baby Nancy was destined to go the same way, dying a few months after the census.

1911 Census -75 Wood St Norton, Norton, Yorkshire, England

John R. Anderson, Head, Married, Male, Bricklayer, 39, Yorks Norton Malton

Sarah Ann Anderson, Wife, Married, Female, -, 38, Yorks Thixendale Yorth

Maurice Anderson, Son, -, Male, School, 13, Yorks Norton Malton

Clarice Anderson, Daughter, -, Female, School, 12, Yorks Norton Malton

Thomas P. Anderson, Son, -, Male, School, 7, Yorks Norton Malton

Harry Anderson, Son, -, Male, -, 4, Yorks Norton Malton

Arthur Anderson, Son, -, Male, -, 1, Yorks Norton Malton

Nancy Anderson, Daughter, -, Female, -, 0, Yorks Norton Malton

Almost as soon as war was declared the 17-year-old Maurice joined the Territorials in the 5th Yorkshires to serve on the Home Front. Maurice and his parents were living at High Street, Rillington, and he was working as a Draper’s Assistant. He was in good health, but clearly had not finished growing as, by 1916, when he was called up aged 19, he had grown an extra two inches to just under 5’7”. On 26th April he transferred from the Yorkshire Regiment to the Machine Gun Corps, starting his attendance at the Machine Gun Corps School at Grantham.  He was assigned to the 67th Company which was attached to the 22nd Division serving in Salonika.

On 5th July 1916 Maurice embarked for Salonika, arriving at Salonika later that month. By this stage martial law had been declared there and the atmosphere was extremely tense though there had been little actual fighting that year. However it became increasingly clear that the Rumanians were poised to attack and so in the beginning of August 1916 three French and one British divisions with 45,000 men and 400 guns launched an offensive against the Bulgarian positions at Lake Dojran, defended by the Second Thracian Infantry Division. The attack began on 9 August with heavy artillery fire on the positions of the 27th Chepino Regiment and 9th Plovdiv Regiment. All four attacks that followed - on 10, 15, 16 and 18 August were repulsed by the Second division and the Allies were forced to retreat to their original positions with heavy casualties.

Other sources state that the French took Tortoise Hill (Tortue) and Doldzeli, in total 30 square km, but at a very high cost and the British  took Horseshoe Hill. Given the shortage of artillery and skilled gunners Maurice would almost  certainly have been present at Horseshoe Hill.

Operations on the Doiran-Vardar River sector were begun in early September with a view to holding up the enemy. His forces here amounted to some 30,000 men practically the whole of the Bulgarian 9th Division and at least two-thirds of the German 101st Division. Between September 11 and 13 General Milne began a heavy bombardment of the German salient north of Machukovo, known as " The Machine Guns' Knob." On the night of September 13-14 the British stormed and occupied the enemy's position here, killed over 200 and captured 71. The work was, however, exposed to the enemy's artillery fire, and in face of his attacks in superior force it was found necessary to retire after a successful demonstration.

However Maurice was not among them. On the 14th September he was admitted to the Field Hospital and subsequently to the hospital in Salonika suffering from a severe fever, where he remained for a good fortnight.

About a month after he was discharged from hospital he re-joined his unit, and was almost immediately promoted to Corporal.

About a month after he was discharged from hospital he re-joined his unit, and was almost immediately promoted to Corporal.

The winter of 1916-1917 was largely spent in preparing for the spring offensive and there was on the whole little action. However on 20th March, Maurice was wounded and underwent severe Gas poisoning.

 He was first treated by a Field Ambulance before being transferred to a Casualty Clearing Station. From there he was transferred to 21 Stationary Hospital at Salonika on 23rd March. The Stationary hospital was a large unit capable of treating about 400 patients. Maurice stayed there until 15th April when he was discharged to a Convalescents Depot where he remained until 17th May when he was discharged to the General Base Depot from where he re-joined his unit on 24th June.

However, it would seem that his fever of September was almost certainly malaria which had been lying dormant, and on 3rd August he was again admitted to a Field Ambulance and transferred to 31st Casualty Clearing station. On 6th August he was assessed as dangerously ill and on the 7th he died of malignant malaria.  

Maurice was buried at Janes Military Cemetery nearby. However, in February 1921, 560 graves were brought into Sarigol Military Cemetery from Janes. Sarigol lies a few miles to the south serving the same front. The cemetery at Janes was on low ground, and, under the normal conditions of this region, it was found difficult to approach and almost impossible to maintain in good order. With a few exceptions, the burials were made from 31st Casualty Clearing Station.  So it is at Sarigol that Maurice is now buried.

Maurice’s paperwork shows him to have been C. of E. but he is commemorated on the memorial at the Methodist Church in Saville Street. He is also commemorated in St Andrew’s Church, Rillington, where his family lived.