Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

September 1, 2020
Grantsville man who served in World War II would be 100 on Wednesday

Stories Behind the Stars works to write the story of World War II’s fallen soldiers 

Peter Anderson from Grantsville died while fighting in World War II. He would have been 100 year old on Wednesday, which is also the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.

Peter Anderson from Grantsville died while fighting in World War II. He would have been 100 year old on Wednesday, which is also the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.

Wednesday will be the 75th anniversary of Japan surrendering to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, bringing an end to World War II.

Don Milne, from Bountiful, director of Stories Behind the Stars — an effort to collect and  make the story of World War II’s fallen heroes easily accessible to the public — has identified 60 men born on Sept. 2, 1920 that died while fighting in World War II.

One of those men, who would be 100 years old on Wednesday, was from Grantsville.

Peter Richard Anderson was born on Sept. 2, 1920 in Grantsville, according to Milne. 

Anderson’s parents, Gustave and Claudia (Brim) were Utah natives. His father worked as a farmer and sheep herder and died in 1936.

Anderson had one older brother named Adolph and five sisters, Geneva Ecton, Emma Tripp, Florence Watson, Josephine Howell, and Bernice Carson.

In 1940, Anderson was living at home, had completed two years of high school, and was working odd jobs, according to Milne.

He married Nancy Widger in 1941. They had two children.

On June 14, 1944, Anderson was drafted into the Army. He reached the rank of private first class and was assigned to the 158th Infantry Regiment. 

The regiment  was nicknamed the Bushmakers, according to Milne

The 158th Infantry Regiment was sent to Australia in January 1943, where It was renamed the 158th Regimental Combat Team.

Anderson was shipped out December 1944 and became part of the 158th  Regimental Combat Team as a replacement in March 1945.

The unit, according to Milne, was a part of the invasion of Lingayen Gulf in January 1945 and began the task of retaking Luzon.

On April 1, 1945 the 158th  Regimental Combat Team landed on the Bicol Peninsula with the task of taking Legazpi.

Anderson was killed on April 12, 1945.

“He may have been one of the last Bushmakers killed in the war,” Milne wrote. “Peter Richard Anderson never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life.”

His wife remarried and died in 1990. His son passed away in 2005.

His other child may still be living, according to Milne. 

Anderson’s grave is located in the Grantsville City Cemetery.

“If he (Anderson) would have lived this long, he would have been 100,” Milne said. “His birthday is also on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. He never got to know that the war ended.” 

More than 1,400 men and women have been profiled by volunteers from Stories Behind the Stars, but the group still has many to write about. There were more than 400,000 men and women who died during the war, according to Milne.

He has been writing since 2016 and plans to continue to do so.

Milne is looking for volunteers to help him write stories of fallen soldiers.

To learn more about his efforts, visit www.storiesbehindthestars.org.

 

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