John Robertson

Staff member
William Ellery (Bill)
  • UNIT
1 Bn + 9 Bn
  • RANK
Lieutenant (T/Captain) + Lieutenant
Military Cross, Mention in Despatches
North Africa 1942-43 (MC) Arnhem 1944 (MiD)
born 30.7.1919 Headington, Oxford (as William Ellery McMahon Anderson)
educated Beaumont
Royal Gloucestershire Hussars 1939 (Trooper)
commissioned Worcestershire Regiment 1940
Parachute Regiment in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Holland
WIA 1943 Sicily
S.A.S. 1944-45
War Crimes Commission, Germany 1947
Royal Ulster Rifles 1948-54 (Major)
instructor,29th Brigade Battle Training School, Korea 1950-51
awarded M.C., M.B.E. + French and American awards for Korea
retired 1954
Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey Expedition 1954-56
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society
Prison Service 1961
Governor of Durham Prison
Secretary of the Naval and Military Club ("In and Out"),94 Piccadilly, London W1 1971-82
author of "Banner over Pusan" and "Expedition South"
married Baroness Brigette von Burgsdorff 1948 (dissolved 1954) (1 son)
married Dilys Roberts 1960 (1 daughter Emma)
died 1.12.1992 London


Military Cross (Bar) : Captain ANDERSON was attached to the G3 Division of 8th Army Headquarters in February 1951. Hitherto the Miscellaneous Section had been concerned with gaining information through Koreans put ashore from island bases off the enemy held coast.

Captain ANDERSON's task was to form an Airborne Section which would be capable not only of collecting and passing back intelligence, but also of striking the enemy L of O with the dual object of harrassing the enemy and forcing him to deploy troops in his rear area.

Owing to the inexperience of his staff Captain ANDERSON had personally to train the men in demolitions, sabotage and intelligence, and at the same time plan and organise actual operations against the enemy.

Operation SPITFIRE was launched on the 18th June. For the operation the Section was divided into an advance party and a main body. Captain ANDERSON insisted on leading the Advance Party himself. This was by far the most dangerous part of the whole operation. The advance party had to jump blind in an extremely mountainous area, about which we had no intelligence. The object of the advance party was to recce for a soft drop zone for the main body and find a suitable, place to set up a base camp. They carried a radio, pistols, and seven days rations.

Just before take off on 18 June Captain ANDERSON severely burned his hand and arm, he jumped with his arm in a sling. On the jump the interpreter was badly injured and unable to move. To recce the DZ and camp site it was necessary to carry out daylight patrols. This is a very risky undertaking for a white man behind the lines in KOREA. Captain ANDERSON left his two American Sgts in a safe hiding place and did these patrols on his own. During one of these patrols he spotted, and directed, an airstrike an a Chinese Bn with excellent results. Captain ANDERSON, was successful in finding the DZ and arranged the reception party for the main body which dropped in an 25 June.

The success of Operation SPITFIRE was due primarily to Captain ANDERSON whose personal courage, tenacity and cheerfulness are a constant source of inspiration to his men and a credit to the British Army.

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3 Para
By Patrick Bishop
Company Commander
By Russell Lewis