Anderson, Kenneth Arthur Noel, born 25-12-1891 in Chennai, Britsh India, was commissioned in the British army on graduation from Sandhurst in 1911.
Anderson served in India and was a captain by 1915. In 1916, Anderson was badly wounded in fighting at the Somme in France. In 1917, he took part in campaigns in Palestine and Syria. Anderson attended the Army Staff College at Camberley, commanded a regiment on the Northwest Frontier of India, and served in Palestine from 1930 to 1932.
Promoted to colonel in 1934, he commanded the 11th Infantry Brigade as part of the 3rd Infantry Division of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France at the beginning of World War II. Toward the end of the withdrawal to Dunkerque, he took command of the 3rd Division. Promoted to Major General, he held a variety of posts in the United Kingdom during the next two years, culminating in heading the Eastern Command. In autumn 1942, Anderson became the senior British officer in Lieutenant General Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower’s U.S. headquarters in London.
Although unpopular with many U.S. officers, Anderson was well liked by Eisenhower. Anderson commanded the Eastern Task Force in the Allied invasion of North Africa, Operation TORCH. Anderson’s units landed at Algiers, although in respect to French sensibilities, an American, Major General Charles Wolcott Ryder , commanded the actual landing. Ryder died age 68 on 17-08-1960 in Massachusetts. Anderson took over the day after the landing, and on 11-11-1942, he became head of the newly constituted British First Army and was concurrently promoted to Lieutenant General. Anderson’s acerbic nature and dour personality tinged with pessimism did not suit him for command of an Allied force. Ordered to quickly advance eastward to Tunis, 500 miles away, Anderson had only four brigades at his disposal. Rugged terrain, poor weather, stiffening Axis defenses, and lack of transportation thwarted his offensive, which was stopped 12 miles short of its goal.
In January 1943, Eisenhower added to Anderson’s command the French XIX Corps and Major General Lloyd Fredenhall‘s U.S. II Corps . Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and General Hans Jürgen von Arnim then launched a series of counterattacks, most notably at Kasserine Pass during 14-22 February, that threw the Allied armies into disarray. Although there were efforts to replace Anderson, he remained in command of First Army, and his troops entered Tunis in May 1943. Anderson returned to Britain to take over the British Second Army headquarters in June 1943 and began to plan for the invasion of France. In January 1944, however, Anderson was shifted to Eastern Command. From January 1945 to October 1946, Anderson headed the East Africa Command. During 1947-1952, he was governor and commander in chief of Gibraltar. After the war he was military Commander-in-Chief and Governor of Gibraltar, where his most notable achievements were to build new houses to relieve the poor housing conditions, and the constitutional changes which established a Legislative Council.
Death and burial ground of Anderson, Kenneth Arthur Noel.
He was promoted full General in July 1949 when he was made a knight of the Venerable Order of Saint John and retired in June 1952 and lived mainly in the south of France. His last years were filled with tragedy: his only son died in action in Malaya and his daughter also died after a long illness. Anderson died of pneumonia, age 67 on 29-04-1959 in Gibraltar and is buried on the cemetery of Gibraltar.