Roll of Honour

Major - Chaplain

W White (Reverend) Anderson

Military Cross


William White Anderson was born on 17th March 1888, the son of Johan and Annie Anderson and the brother of Carl Otto Anderson who also attended the University, and sisters Anna and Martha. At the start of his studies he described his father's occupation as ‘Cargo Superindent.’ He was educated at Kinneil Public School and from an early age had expressed an interest in theology and the ministry, becoming involved in organisations associated with his local Bo’ness Parish Church such as the Sunday school, the Young Men’s Guild and the Boy’s Brigade. Anderson showed academic promise, winning the junior and senior bursaries at Bo’ness Academy before moving on to the University of Glasgow.

Memorial chapel at the University of Glasgow
The Memorial Chapel at the University of Glasgow

Anderson, with the aid of the Walker Bursary in Arts, began his study for an MA at the University in Session 1907-1908 at the age of 19. He enrolled for classes in Latin and Mathematics. He was successful in his Mathematics classes and passed first time around in April 1908. He unfortunately did not meet with immediate success in his Latin classes and had to re-sit his examinations each year in 1908 and 1909, eventually succeeding in 1911. During his first year of study, Anderson resided at ‘52 Hayburn Street, Partick’ with his home address listed as ‘Arnot-Hill, Bo’ness.’

In his second year of study in Session 1908-1909, Anderson enrolled for classes in Moral Philosophy and Natural Philosophy - he passed both of these classes first time in May 1909. During his studies for this session, he lodged ‘c/o Scott at 143 Elderslie Street, Glasgow.’

In session 1909-1910, now at the age of 21, Anderson enrolled to study English and a joint course in Higher Political Philosophy and Soc.Economics and Logic, passing his classes in May 1910. He had moved address again for his third year of study and resided ‘c/o Philip, 4 Woodburn Place, Kelvinhaugh Street. His home address at this point was listed as ‘Manse Brae’ in Bo’ness.

In his final year of undergraduate study at the University for session 1910-1911, Anderson enrolled for classes in French which he unfortunately did not pass. He did pass in Latin and was therefore able to graduate with an MA on the 16th of November 1911. He was, by this time, well placed to continue with his studies in Theology at the University.

Anderson began as fifth year at the University in Session 1911-1912, now at the age of 23 years old. He attended classes in the Faculty of Theology with the aim of obtaining a B.D. For his first year of study in Theology, he enrolled for classes in Divinity, Church History and Hebrew. Anderson was clearly well-suited to his studies. Indeed, for this session he was given a first year honourable mention in the junior Divinity class of Professor Henry Martyn Beckwith Reid. During his studies, he was again resident at 4 Woodburn Place, Sandyford.

He supplemented his studies in the summer of 1912, becoming a student missionary in New Brunswick, Canada. Throughout his studies in Theology he was also a reader to the Rev. Norman MacLeod Caie. Indeed Rev. Caie said of his preaching that it was:

‘(of)the highest order and it had been carefully and zealously developed. He had a voice of unusual richness and compass and his delivery was arresting and impressive. His thought was fresh and his mind was amply stored with the results of the best reading in modern literature and poetry.’

Anderson entered his sixth year of study at the University in Session 1912-1913, enrolling for classes in Biblical Criticism, Divinity and Hebrew. He continued on with the requirements for a B.D also in Session 1913-1914 when he enrolled in his seventh year of study. He described his father at this point as being a ‘Timber Merchant’ and the family appears to have moved, their home address by this time given as ‘4 Jane Terrace’ in Bo’ness. Although Anderson enrolled to sit his first department examination in Hebrew, New Testament Exegesis and Apologetics, it seems that he did not sit his examinations at this point.

However, in a newspaper extract from the time, in May 1914, Anderson is noted to have been licensed by the Prebystery of Linlithgow. Along with so many, Anderson was involved with the Great War and he was a Senior Chaplain (9th Division), serving with the army of occupation in Germany, and was Senior Chaplain in the Lowland Division. He received the M.C. in 1917.

Fortunately, Anderson survived WWI, becoming a Minister at Bellahouston Parish Church from 1919-1926, Minister of New Kilpatrick Parish, Bearsden, 1926-1931, and then from 1931 the Junior then Senior Minister of St. Cuthbert's Parish Church, Edinburgh, whilst also serving as Chaplain too in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, in 1926.

During WWII, Anderson served with the Royal Navy and he was awarded the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Officers' Decoration. In 1951, Anderson was appointed Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and in 1952 became Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland. Previously, he had been Chaplain to King George VI in Scotland from 1949-1952. The Very Rev. William White Anderson died on the 17th of December 1956. He is buried in Bo’ness Cemetery and is commemorated on the family headstone and in the University Roll of Honour.

Comments and Citations

With thanks to Alan Gow for additional information-Bo’ness War Memorial - Without Fear Project R8/5/28/1- Matriculation Slip -Session 1907-1908, R8/5/29/1- M