Anley, WB (1871-19??) Brigadier-General
GOC Infantry Brigade DSO
Royal Naval Academy RMA Woolwich Royal Garrison Artillery


royal_garrison_artilleryWilliam Bower Anley was commissioned into the Royal Garrison Artillery on 24 July 1891.

In 1896 he passed the Long Course of Gunnery at Woolwich and Shoeburyness with 1st Class honours. This equipped him for a pre-war military career that was notably uneventful, largely spent manning the coastal fortifications of Britain and the Empire.

The outbreak of war did little to rescue him from the common regimental round as he was confined to home service and light duties for three months after suffering from appendicitis. Anley was not posted to France until the summer of 1915, first as OC 40 Siege Battery RGA and then as OC 39 Group RGA. In February 1917 he became counter-battery staff officer, attached to VII Corps. The Counter-Battery Staff Office was at the forefront of the transformation in the accuracy and power of the British artillery, exercising an importance and influence that belied its lowly position in the military hierarchy. (1)

Anley reached general officer rank, commanding the heavy artillery of VII Corps, three days before the Armistice.

(1) See Albert P Palazzo, ‘The British Army's Counter-Battery Staff Office and Control of the Enemy in World War I', Journal of Military History, 63 (January 1999), pp. 55-74.

Dr John Bourne

(1) Jonathan Walker, The Blood Tub. General Gough and the Battle of Bullecourt, 1917 (Staplehurst: Spellmount, 1998), pp. 38-39.

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