William Hopton (Andy or Mucker) ANDERSON DFC, CBE

ANDERSON, William Hopton

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: 6 January 1916, 16/3/1915 promoted to Lieutenant, 5 years RAGA
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Born: Kew, Victoria, Australia, 30 December 1891
Home Town: East Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne Grammar School, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Permanent officer
Died: East Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 30 December 1975, aged 84 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

6 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Captain, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, 16/3/1915 promoted to Lieutenant, 5 years RAGA
16 Mar 1916: Involvement Captain, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
16 Mar 1916: Embarked Captain, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, HMAT Orsova, Melbourne
21 Aug 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Captain, No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
21 Jan 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Major, No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
7 Nov 1918: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross, 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 173, Date: 7 November 1918 Awarded for a series of successful shoots 15/9/1917 to 28/1/1918 over France including the shooting down of an D.F.W.5a Albatross on 6/12/1917 near Messines
14 Feb 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Major, No. 3 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps, 3rd MD

Non Warlike Service

1 Jan 1934: Honoured Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Group Captain

Help us honour William Hopton Anderson's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

William Hopton Anderson (1891-1975), was educated at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School, William played football, joined the cadets and was a member of the school's rifle team. He gained first-class honours and an exhibition in Greek and Latin at the 1910 senior public examinations. In December he was given a permanent commission in the Royal Australian (Garrison) Artillery; he served the next four years in Sydney. Transferring to the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in March 1915, he proceeded to Rabaul, German New Guinea, and took charge of the battery on Matupi Island in Simpson Harbour. 

Having taken home leave, Anderson was appointed captain in the Australian Flying Corps, Australian Imperial Force, on 14 January 1916, and embarked for Egypt with No.1 Squadron. In May he was sent to England for pilot training; service with the Royal Flying Corps followed. He left for France in August 1917 as a flight commander in No.3 Squadron, A.F.C. (No.69 Squadron, R.F.C.), a corps reconnaissance unit. On 21 October, when he was spotting for the artillery near Lens, his aircraft was attacked by German scouts. Anderson's 'gallant and skilful' flying enabled his observer to return fire and to keep the enemy at bay until help arrived. Ten days later Anderson piloted one of two R.E.8s which beat off four Albatross scouts. He completed his mission on each occasion. During an artillery-ranging flight near Messines Ridge, Belgium, on 6 December, he engaged an enemy reconnaissance two-seater plane which his observer shot down. 

Promoted temporary major in January 1918, Anderson transferred to England in command of No.7 Training Squadron. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in June and the Belgian Croix de Guerre next month. In October he returned to No.3 Squadron as commanding officer, but was hospitalized in January 1919. After his repatriation in May, he was mentioned in dispatches as further recognition of his war service. On the inauguration of the (Royal) Australian Air Force on 31 March 1921, he was appointed squadron leader and the R.A.A.F.'s third most senior officer. He was promoted wing commander on 23 March 1927. 

His promotions continued: group captain in December 1932, Air Commodore in 1938 and acting Air Vice Marshal in September 1941. He retired in April 1946 with the honorary rank of Air Vice Marshal.


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Geoff Unicomb

6 December 1917 - First 3rd SQN AFC victory on the Western Front

On the morning of this day, a 3rd Squadron Australian Flying Corps (AFC) R.E.8, flown by Captain William Hopton Anderson, with observer Lieutenant John Renison Bell, was flying an artillery ranging operation over Messines, Belgium.

Having transmitted a wireless shorthand intelligence report, Anderson dropped two 20lb bombs in an enemy trench strongpoint and recorded its location. At 1010, the aircraft was attacked by a German D.F.W two-seater; Lieutenant Bell engaged the German machine, putting burst of ninety rounds into the aircraft.

The D.F.W. fell steeply without firing a shot; an artillery officer on the Messines Ridge saw the D.F.W. crash into the German lines. This was the first German aircraft destroyed by the 3rd Squadron on the Western Front.