John Henry (Harry) Anderson was born in Duluth, Minnesota on January 26, 1892, the son of August Anderson and Mrs. Anderson. John Henry had a brother Conrad and two sisters, Lilly and Florence. The family lived in Revelstoke for some time. The 1914 Voter’s List showed that August Anderson owned 22 acres and a house on property north of the CPR main line. A brother of August Anderson, John Anderson, also lived in Revelstoke.
At some point it appears that August’s family moved to Malakwa. School records show John Henry Anderson aged 11 enrolled at the Malakwa School in 1903. He was involved in the community life of Malakwa as an actor and a dance floor manager. He portrayed a police officer in a local play and also participated in a mock trial where he was accused of stealing sunbeams from a farm! He was also involved in organizing a Young People’s Society in Malakwa. At their first meeting he was elected President. Their first task was to organize a big picnic and dance for the 1915 May 21 celebrations.
John Henry (Harry) Anderson enlisted in Vernon on May 28, 1915 with the 54th Battalion. He was 23 years of age, 5’ 11 ½” tall with light brown hair and blue eyes. His religious affiliation was Methodist. He worked in a printing office and then on a dining car for the Canadian Pacific Railway before he volunteered for the army. At the time of his enlistment he was working as a brakeman for the railway.
In July of 1915 the 54th Battalion passed through Revelstoke on its way to the front. Harry Anderson was one of numerous Revelstoke boys to be honoured with what the newspaper noted was the largest crowd ever gathered at the Revelstoke train station in its history.
The November 1915 issue of the paper noted that Harry had joined the machine gun section of the 7th Battalion. He is known to have sent back numerous letters to his parents describing his life in the trenches. On July 1, 1916 he was slightly wounded in the battle for Mount Sorrel in which six Revelstoke men lost their lives. A piece of shrapnel burst his thumb and a machine gun bullet grazed his right arm. Harry was in the same trench as Earl Pettipiece and Judd Eaton (both Revelstoke men) when they were killed instantly by a shrapnel shell. He was also with Tommy Fleming (he later perished at Vimy Ridge) when Tommy received his wounds.
John Henry Anderson died April 8, 1917 at the battle of Vimy Ridge. He was 25 years of age. At the time of his death he held the rank of Corporal in the 7th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (British Columbia Regiment). He is buried at the Arras Road Cemetery in France.
His name is inscribed on the Revelstoke Methodist Church Honor Roll, the Malakwa Community Honor Roll, and the Orange Lodge Honor Roll as well as the Malakwa War Memorial plaque and the Revelstoke Courthouse and Cenotaph plaques.