Veteran George Frederick Anderson remembers WWII

Frederick and Latrelle Anderson married in 1947 after Frederick served in the US Army during WWII. The Andersons, who have been married 67 years, live in Helena and have four children, 11 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. (Contributed)

Frederick and Latrelle Anderson married in 1947 after Frederick served in the US Army during WWII. The Andersons, who have been married 67 years, live in Helena and have four children, 11 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

George Frederick Anderson, son of Porter and Annie Beatty Anderson, grew up in the Kingdom area of Shelby County and attended Columbiana Elementary School.

As a young teenage boy, Anderson worked part-time at the Shelby County Reporter while attending Shelby County High School.

“I was about 15 when I started work,” said Anderson. “Then I quit school to work full-time on the presses and general work as needed.”

At age 18 Anderson joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and went to basic training at Fort Campbell, Ky.

“After basic, I went to Newport News, Va., boarded a ship and did not know where I was going,” said Anderson. “We landed in Casablanca in North Africa, and I was sick with jaundice for over a month in Africa.”

Anderson was overseas for two years from 1943-1945 as a gunner and driver on a tank.

“I was with the 5th Army under Lt. General Mark Clark and saw combat in Italy when we met the Germans below Rome,” he said. “We were joined by the 8th British Army. The Germans retreated, and we followed them all up Italy. We would camouflage out tanks with poles and tarps.”

Anderson said one night they got lost, and the Germans were shooting at them with machine guns.

“We saw a red light in the distance and thought it was our guys showing us the way,” he said. “Sure enough, it was a red kerosene lamp that guided us through the night.”

Another time a German radio was on the same frequency as theirs, Anderson said.

“We heard a bunch of German and one of our guys understood enough to tell us they were going to blow up this house we were hiding under,” he said. “We moved just in time and they blew up the roof of the house. When the war was over, we guarded German prisoners and saw that they were regular people just like us. I left Italy in Naples on an aircraft carrier which brought me back to the states.

“We had the attitude that we had a job to do and that it had to be done. And we did it.”

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

email author More by Phoebe Donald