Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum logo

Click on CASPIR logo to go to the entire CASPIR system.

Use the panel to:

  • select Optional Sections
  • Remove Page Breaks, that is, return to the non-print formatted document.
  • Click on the ⇩ to go directly to that section.

Anderson, William Andrew DFC (Squadron Leader)

Killed in Action 1942-02-12

Birth Date: 1918-02-11 (age 24)

Son of David Watson Anderson and Anne Walker Anderson, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; husband of Joyce Harriet Anderson. Anderson Lake, Northwest Territories was named after William Anderson.

Husband of Joyce Harriet Anderson. Anderson Lake, Northwest Territories was named after William Anderson.

Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Decorations: DFC

Distinguished Service Cross
407 Sqn- Squadron
To Hold On High
Squadron Leader
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Service Numbers
Born in Winnipeg, 1918; home there. Enlisted there 9 September 1939. Trained at Camp Borden and Trenton. Killed in Action on Hudson AM7 12, February 1942; name on Runnymede Memorial. 407 Demon Squadron (To Hold On High). Hudson V aircraft AM 712 RR-W was carrying 4 x 250 lb. bombs when it was shot down while attacking the German escort vessels that were escorting the German battleships, Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, through the English Channel

S/L WA Anderson DFC (RCAF), P/O HV Spicer (RCAF), Sgt N Jordan (RAFVR), Sgt AF Muris (RAFVR), and FS S Walker (RAFVR) were missing, presumed killed. Only P/O Spicer's body washed ashore (1942-04-20) and was buried in Holland. The rest of the crew have no known graves and are commemorated on the Runnymede War Memorial. S/L Anderson had flown thirty operations with this Squadron

There were two 407 Squadron aircraft lost on this trip.

Please see F/L L Cowperthwaite (RCAF) for detail of the other crew in Hudson V AM 598 RR-P

These two Hudson's were part of a formation that were to meet a fighter escort at another airfield before making their attack, however due to miscommunication the fighters did not take off (their instructions were to wait for the bombers to land and refuel first). After circling for a time waiting for the fighters to join them some of the Hudson's landed while five others continued on to the German ships without an escort. S/L Anderson and F/L Cowperthwaite's aircraft were last seen making bomb runs on the ships under heavy fighter attack. Both were considered outstanding officers on the Squadron (pers. comm. A.D. Squires)

The price Coastal and Bomber Command paid for their futile attack on these two battleships was staggering. The Allies lost 48 aircraft and nearly all the crews, another 22 aircraft were badly damaged. Enemy losses were 13 sailors and 11 pilots killed. The CO, Air Chief Marshall Sir Philip Libert wrote his memoirs of the raid in great detail in 1955 and made no mention of 407 Squadron

Distinguished Flying Cross - No.407 Squadron - Award effective 15 December 1941 as per London Gazette dated 16 March 1943 and AFRO 616/43 dated 9 April 1943. Medal presented to next-of-kin, 20 March 1944. The citation reads - "This officer has always shown the greatest keenness and enthusiasm for operational flying. On one occasion he carried out a successful low level attack on a well defended convoy off Ameland, obtaining a hit on the largest vessel of some 10,000 tons. On another occasion he attacked convoys at night, always at a low level, and in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire, obtaining a hit on a 2,500 ton vessel from fifty feet. He also attacked the vessel with machine gun fire. On another sortie S/L. Anders was detailed to illuminate the position of a convoy to direct a bombing force to the attack. He skillfully accomplished his mission in the face of fire from the ship. He assumed command of a flight in November 1941. This officer has at all times shown great courage." Detail provided by H Halliday, Orleans, Ontario

Detail from: and

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

Squadron Leader William Andrew Anderson has no known grave.

Crew on Hudson Mk. V(L.R.) AM712

Lockheed Hudson A-28 A-29 AT-18

Lockheed Hudson
Source National Air Force Museum of Canada.

The Lockheed Hudson was an American-built light bomber and coastal reconnaissance aircraft built initially for the Royal Air Force (RAF) shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and primarily operated by the RAF thereafter. The Hudson served throughout the war, mainly with Coastal Command, but also in transport and training roles, as well as delivering agents into occupied France. They were also used extensively with the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) anti-submarine squadrons. National Air Force Museum of Canada.

YouTube Hudson

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Hudson

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

Kestrek Publications Hudon - Kestrel Publications

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (247), RCAF 400 Squadron (2), Canadian Aircraft Losses (245), Canadian Ferried (1)
last update: 2021-12-21 01:36:53

Hudson Mk. V(L.R.) AM712

With No. 407 Squadron, RCAF when lost over the English Channel on 12 February 1942.

407 Sqn- Squadron To Hold On High ("Demon")

History of the Squadron during World War II (Aircraft: Blenheim IV, Hudson III & V, Wellington XI, XII, XIV)

407 Squadron was the fourth RCAF squadron formed overseas in WWII, and the second to be allocated to Coastal Command. It was created on 8 May 1941 at Thorney Island, Hampshire, UK as a Coastal Strike unit, flying Bristol Blenheim Mk IV and Lockheed Hudson Mk. III and V. It continued in the anti-shipping role until 29 January 1943 when it was re-designated a General Reconnaissance unit and re-equipped with Vickers Wellington aircraft, progressively flying Mks XI, XII and XIV (the latter two equipped with Leigh Light) in the Battle of the Atlantic. The squadron flew from a number of different bases in the UK. It was finally disbanded at Chivenor, Devon, UK on June 4 1945.

In the course of WWII, the squadron flew some 2900 sorties, of which 1987 were in the anti-submarine role. In anti-shipping strikes, it was credited with sinking 10 ships , totalling 24,000 tons. 4 U-boats were claimed sunk and 3 damaged. Details of the attacks on U-boats were as follows. On 6/7 September 1943, flying out of Chivenor, Pilot Officr E.M. O’Donnell and crew of Wellington Mk XII HF115, equipped with a Leigh Light attacked what was thought to be U-669 (according to, the submarine attacked was U-584, which was not damaged). On 10/11 February 1944, flying out of Limavady, Flying Officer P.J. Heron and crew in Wellington XII MP578 equipped with a Leigh Light attacked and sunk U-283. On 3/4 May 1944, flying out of Chivenor, Flying Officer L.J. Bateman and crew in Wellington XIV NB855 equipped with a Leigh Light attacked and sunk U-846. On 29/30 December 1944, flying out of Chivenor, Squadron Leader C.I.W. Taylor and crew in Wellington XIV NB855 equipped with a Leigh Light attacked what was thought to be U-772 (according to, the submarine attacked was U-486, which escaped).

In the course of operations, the squadron lost 42 aircraft and 197 aircrew of whom 24 were confirmed killed and 151 presumed dead, 8 POW and 8 wounded. Awards gained by the aircrew were 3 DSOs, 1 Bar to DFC, 18 DFCs, 6 DFMs and 35 Mentioned in Dispatches. Battle Honours were: Atlantic 1943-45, English Channel and North Sea 1941-45, Fortress Europe 1942, German Ports 1942, Normandy 1944, Biscay 1942-45.Wikipedia, Kostenuk and Griffin

Maps for Movements of 407 Squadron 1941-45

MAP 1: 407 Squadron Movements in the UK 1941-45 (right-click on image to display enlarged in new tab)
MAP 2: 407 Squadron Movements in Scotland 1943-44
MAP 3: 407 Squadron submarine attacks

General Sinking of U-283

General Attack on U-486

General Attack on U-584

General Attack on U-669

General Attack on U-772

General Sinking of U-846


407 Sqn History Summary 1941-45

407 Sqn History Summary 1941-45 Page 2

History of the Squadron Post-WWII (Aircraft: Lancaster X, Neptune, Argus, Aurora)

The squadron was re-formed as 407 (Maritime Reconnaissance) Squadron at Comox, BC on 1 July 1952, flying modified Lancaster X aircraft. The squadron was the third of four – and the only West Coast – unit formed in Maritime Command. It was re-designated 407 (Maritime Patrol) Squadron 17 July 1956. From 1958 it flew Lockheed Neptune aircraft. It was integrated into the Canadian Armed Forces on 1 February 1968. Later the squadron flew Canadair CP-107 Argus aircraft before transferring to the CP-140 Aurora which it flies today. The squadron is now designated 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron.407 Squadron has been active in Afghanistan, supporting Operation APOLLO from 2001-2003 as well as in 2009 during Operation ATHENA. 407 Squadron served in an Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance role during Operation MOBILE in the skies over Libya from 2010 to 2011. Its peacetime duties include flights to look for illegal fishing, migrant and drug smuggling and polluters. They can also perform search and rescue missions using air-droppable survival pods. In recent years, they have detected and gathered evidence against over a dozen suspected driftnet vessels in support of Canada's commitment to enforcing the United Nations moratorium on high-seas driftnet fishing.

General Government of Canada RCAF Website

© Canadian Warplane Heritage 2024

To search on any page:
PC — Ctrl-F
Mac — ⌘-F
Mobile — or …