Days before his death in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Robert Adair Anderson wrote that he hoped to get home for Christmas “to see all the family once more before anything happens that will keep me away for a long time.”
Mr. Anderson was a gunner’s mate and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed on Dec. 7, 1941. He was 21.
In his Nov. 29 letter to his aunt and uncle John and Lexie Hardwick in Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Anderson said “everything is so mixed up” that he did not know whether the ship would soon head to the west coast. “We don’t even know what the next thing we will do when we get out to sea for a little practice. It is better this way because it might fall into the wrong hands and that may cause a little trouble.”
Mr. Anderson was born Oct. 12, 1920, to James Clark Anderson, a carpenter, and Josephine Lombard Anderson, a homemaker. The father, who died in early 1941, was born in Scotland. The mother was a native of England.
Mr. Anderson attended Allen Village elementary school, Westport Junior High, and Lathrop Polytechnic Institute — all in Kansas City. He enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 8, 1939.
There is a cenotaph for him at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Kansas City.