Scottish hockey star’s First World War medals sold

John Anderson was a Scottish international.
John Anderson was a Scottish international.
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MEDALS belonging to a Scottish hockey internationalist who died in the final year of the First World War have sold at aution for £1200.

Captain John Anderson, an Edinburgh University medical graduate, was a star of the Scotland hockey team before being commissioned in 1914.

He served with the Royal Army Medical Corps, as medical officer to the 1/6th Battalion Black Watch, and was awarded the Military Cross for his gallantry. He was killed on March 21, 1918, while tending to wounded soldiers in France.

Captain Anderson was treating wounded comrades when a squadron of Germans appeared, and he was killed as he tried to escape. Anderson’s story only emerged after his Military Cross, British War and Victory Medals were put up for auction along with his bronze Memorial Plaque and cap badge, at Dix Noonan Webb in London, where they were bought by an anonymous internet bidder.

Very little is known about Mr Anderson with only few scant details surviving from his death notice to the war office and from hockey annuals.

David Erskine-Hill, medals specialist at Dix Noonan Webb, said: “These medals are a poignant reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by medical officers during the First World War.

“Anderson, already a distinguished pre-war Scottish international sportsman, repeatedly risked his life to tend to the wounded of the Black Watch.

“He was awarded the Military Cross and mentioned in despatches. He received no award at all for his bravery in going out once again during the massive German offensive on March 21, 1918.

“He didn’t have to go but he felt it was his duty, and this determination to help the wounded led to his death.”

Anderson played hockey for Edinburgh University and competed for Scotland six times between March 1910 and March 1913. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 3rd Highland Field Ambulance, on 31 October 1914, and went to France ten months later. He was invalided home on April 1, 1916, by which time he was promoted to captain.

diane.king@edinburghnews.com