William Patrick Anderson
William Patrick Anderson (1851-1927)
1927 Obituary 
Colonel WILLIAM PATRICK ANDERSON, C.M.G., V.D., eldest son of Thomas Anderson, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was born on the 4th September, 1851 at Levis, Quebec. He was educated at Bishop’s College, Lennoxville, and subsequently studied for one year at Manitoba College, Winnipeg. He began his pupilage under Mr. Robert Ross in 1872, being engaged upon exploratory surveys and preliminary railway locations north of Lake Superior, and later on instrument work on geodetic and township surveys in Manitoba.
He entered the Canadian Civil Service in 1874, as a draughtsman in the Department of Marine and Fisheries. After completing a year’s work on the design of lighthouses, he was promoted to assistant engineer, being employed on the location, design and superintendence of the construction of lighthouses, etc. In 1880 he was made Chief Engineer of the Department. He had charge of the design and construction of all lighthouses, lightships, fog-alarms, buoys, and beacons throughout Canada ; of the tidal and current surveys, and hydrographic surveys of the Dominion coasts ; of the removal of all wrecks ; and generally of the technical work of the Department.
He designed and built more than 500 lighthouses and fifty fog-alarm stations. Among the more important of his works may be mentioned the construction of a lighthouse in 1885 on a pier built in a caisson in 13 feet of water on Colchester reef, Lake Erie ; a complete hydrographic survey, finished in 1893, of the Bay of Quinte, an arm of Lake Ontario 70 miles long ; the construction and installation in 1898 of the first-order siren station, worked by air compressed by water-power, at Belleisle, Labrador ; the construction in 1900 of a lighthouse on a pier in 42 feet of water, with a 7-knot current, at the upper end of Traverse of St. Roch, River St. Lawrence ; the construction, during 1902 and 1903, of a fireproof lighthouse and gas fog-alarm on a pier in 42 feet of water, with a 9-knot tideway, at the lower end of Traverse of St. Roch ; and the construction in 1903 of two steel lightships, with steam propulsion and fog-sirens, at the Polson Iron Works, Toronto. He served continuously as Chief Engineer of the Department until his retirement in 1919. He represented the Dominion of Canada at the International Congress of Navigation in 1912, and at the National Waterways Congress at Washington in 1913. He was a member of the Lighthouse Board of Canada, was recently Chairman of the Geographic Board of Canada, and was also a member of the Canadian Engineering Standards Association. The enthusiasm for military matters which was so noteworthy a feature of his life showed itself at a very early age.
Having joined the Militia in 1864, he obtained leave from college to see active service in the Fenian raid of 1866. He was also in the second raid a few years later, being awarded a medal and two clasps. On going to Ottawa in 1874 he joined the Governor-General’s Foot Guards ; and on the organization of the Ottawa and Carleton Rifles (43rd Regiment, Canadian Militia), he was appointed adjutant. He commanded this unit from 1888 to 1892, and from the latter date until shortly before his death he remained upon the active list of officers. He established the Canadian Military Gazette in 1885, which he edited for two years. He was a keen marksman, having on one occasion been a member, and on another commandant, of Canadian Bisley teams. He was at one time Chairman of the Small Arms Committee of Canada, and a Member of Council and Iife Governor of the Dominion of Canada Rifle Association. He was elected a member of The Institution in 1904, and was Canadian Member of Council from 1905 to 1907. He was a Charter Member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (now the Engineering Institute of Canada), of which body he was elected President in 1904.
In 1906 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He was made a Companion of the Order of St,. Michael and St. George in 1913. He contributed to the Encyclopedia Britannica and to numerous technical publications. He was a skilful curler, and was an authority on philately. He also took a keen interest in natural history, having been one of the founders of the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club. He married, in 1876, Dorothea Susannah, daughter of Mr. H. B Small, late Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Canada. He died at his home in Ottawa on the 1st February, 1927, and was survived by his widow, a daughter, and four sons : Colonel W. B. Anderson, C.M.G., D.S.O., Colonel T. V. Anderson, D.S.O., Mr. H. B. Anderson, and Major A. A. Anderson, D.S.O.