Henry Gordon Anderson

ANDERSON, Henry Gordon

2nd Word War
Date of Birth
Date Attested
Attested at
North Bay
Pilot Officer
Date of Death
Age at Death
Biographical Summary

RANK Pilot Officer Royal Canadian Air Force
SQUADRON No. 419 “Moose”
“beware of the moose”
Group 6 RAF Bomber Command
Middleton St. George Airfield in Durham
Squadron Markings VR A
AGE 29 February 12, 1942 J / 6490
MEMORIAL Runnymede Memorial
Englefield Green - Egham - Surrey
Panel 99.
PARENTS James Anderson - Exeter.
• Henry was born on April 15, 1912 in Exeter. He attended SS #10 Lumley School. He was known to have
enjoyed baseball, rugby, hockey and pool. After his education he became a teacher and taught at SS #2
Thames Road in 1934 and at Chemins which is near the Quebec border. He also worked in the gold mines
of Northern Ontario.
• While in North Bay in 1940, at the age of 28 he enlisted into the Royal Canadian Air Force. His training
brought him to the Manning Depot in Toronto, Trenton, Crumlin near London, to #1 Initial Training School
in Toronto, #3 Elementary Flying Training School in London and finally to Camp Borden where he
received his wings and his commission as a Pilot Officer on July 31, 1941.
• He was then posted overseas to England on August 14, 1941 and in September arrived at the Bristol Air
Station. From there he went to #23 Operational Training Unit and did his training on Wellingtons and from
there was attached to No. 419 Squadron of Group 6 on January 1, 1942.
• The German Naval ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prince Eugen were usually in Brest Harbour, but the
RAF found it difficult to attack and sink them while they were there. In the meantime, Hitler believed that
Norway was about to be invaded by the British and this led the infamous “Channel Dash” of February 12,
1942. The operation had the name “Operation Fuller”.
• The ceiling was approximately 300 feet, cloud cover was 100% and it was snowing heavily, but in the
Channel the sea state is low and no fog. After two flights of Swordfish and Beaufort torpedo bombers failed
to penetrate the German convoy defences, Bomber Command then mustered 242 aircraft of all types and
this was virtually the entire RAF combat-ready aircraft available and the strike was launched in mid
• Pilot Officer Anderson was airborne from Middleton St. George at 17:00 hours. He was the second pilot of
this aircraft.
• The final mission for he and his crew was in Wellington Z 1091 and their mission was to intercept the
German Naval ships Scharnhorst, Gneisenhau and Prince Eugen as they moved through the Straits of Dover
off of the Dutch coast. These ships were trying to get to a safer anchorage at Kiel in Germany and from
there north to Norway. The weather during the late afternoon and early evening was very poor with much
rain, sleet, snow and low clouds. Visibility was very poor, and to bomb the ships when located they would
have to fly through different cloud layers because the ceiling was 800 feet. The last word anyone received
was that they had sighted the German ships and were about to begin their bomb run. Nothing ever followed
that report. As well the Scharnhorst had dropped away from the convoy.
• It is believed that after each aircraft of the formation broke away to look for the targets individually that
Wellington Z 1091 located their target, pressed home their attack and because of the heavy defences of the
enemy ships lost their lives in the attack.
• Only 39 aircraft came within sight of the German ships, with P/O Anderson’s aircraft being one of them. No
hits were scored.
• During the course of the war, No. 419 flew Wellingtons, Halifaxes, and then Lancasters and in
approximately 40 months they logged 400 operational missions, involving 4,325 sorties and delivered well
over 14,000 tons of bombs. In doing so they lost 129 aircraft.