Although the brothers lived in Glasgow and were educated in Edinburgh, they came to be remembered on the Largo War Memorial because their parents had Strathairly House outside Upper Largo as a second home. The family would spend weekends and holidays there and ultimately the boys parents would settle their in retirement. The father, William, died in 1922 at Strathairly. His wife, Nora, became actively involved in local life. She was president of the local Association of Girl Guides and was involved in the Nursing Association at both the local Largo and Newburn level and at the Fife County level. She hosted many events at Strathairly, such as fund raisers and children's treats, and would have been a contemporary of other well-known local figures such as Leonora Rintoul and the Paxton ladies. Mrs Anderson died in 1939.
One of the Anderson brothers was killed on this day, exactly a century ago. Alexander Ronald Anderson was in the Highland Light Infantry and died in action at Vielle Chapelle on 8th October 1915. He was the second son to be lost, as his younger brother, Charles Hamilton Anderson (also of the Highland Light Infantry) had been killed during the Battle of Givenchy on 19th December 1914.
More than three years passed before the youngest brother, Edward Kerr Anderson, died. He had earlier seen action at the Somme but had transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. He was a flying instructor in WInchester, England, and lost his life following a plane accident there on 16th March 1918. Only nine days later, the eldest and last remaining brother, William Herbert Anderson, died at Bois Favieres near Maricourt, France. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross "for most conspicuous bravery, determination, and gallant leading of his command". The following is an account of the incident:
"The enemy attacked on the right of the battalion frontage, and succeeded in penetrating the wood held by our men. Owing to successive lines of the enemy following on closely there was the greatest danger that the flank of the whole position would be turned. Grasping the seriousness of the situation, Colonel Anderson made his way across the open in full view of the enemy now holding the wood on the right, and after much effort succeeded in gathering the remainder of the two right companies. He personally led the counter-attack and drove the enemy from the wood, capturing twelve machine guns and seventy prisoners, and restoring the original line.His conduct in leading the charge was quite fearless and his most splendid example was the means of rallying and inspiring the men during a most critical hour. Later on the same day, in another position, the enemy had penetrated to within three hundred yards of the village and were holding a timber-yard in force. Colonel Anderson reorganised his men after they had been driven in and brought them forward to a position of readiness for a counter-attack. He led the attack in person and throughout showed the utmost disregard for his own safety. The counter-attack drove the enemy from his position, but resulted in this very gallant officer losing his life. He died fighting within the enemy's lines, setting a magnificent example to all who were privileged to serve under him."
The brothers' parents were already heavily involved in supporting regimental charities before the loss of any of their sons. Their ongoing fundraising led to Mr Anderson being awarded a C.B.E.. The four brothers are remembered, not only on the Largo Parish War Memorial, but also on a memorial within Upper Largo Church and on several other memorials in Glasgow, Edinburgh and in other parts where they were known.