World War I Honours and Awards Website

Captain E Lloyd Davies MC - Buckingham Palace   

Award at Buckingham Palace

Joseph Ringland ANDERSON MC


Date of birth29 October 1894
PlaceLilydale, Victoria, Australia
ParentsReverend Joseph Ringland and Annie Love (nee Elder) Anderson
Date of death14 May 1961
Place5 Linlithgow Road, Toorak, Victoria, Australia
Scotch Year(s)1906 to 1911

Service record and post-war life

When Joseph enlisted at the age of 22 in early 1917 (some documents say January, others May), he already had five years' experience in the militia. That year he graduated MB, BS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) at Melbourne University. Allocated to Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC) Reinforcements as a Captain, he embarked for Britain on 9 May, arriving at Plymouth in July.

He spent much time at training depots in England, and only proceeded to France in February 1918. There he was allotted to a unit, the 3rd Australian General Hospital. At the end of March he was transferred again, to the 13th Field Ambulance. On 16 April he became the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) of the 45th Battalion. He would stay with it until September 1919, long after the war ended. A year before, on 18 September 1918, he earned his Military Cross.

The recommendation for his award notes his ‘conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty’ during an attack near Bellenglise in France (see recommendation below). It was a period when the Allies were advancing rapidly, and Anderson established his Regimental Aid Post (RAP) in advanced and open locations. Under heavy shell fire he kept at the task of attending the wounded, thereby saving many lives and inspiring others around him. His award was not gazetted until late in 1919 (though he probably knew about it from November 1918), and Anderson did not receive it until 1920. He reached Australia in September 1919, but was back in England in 1920 undertaking further medical studies. Joseph served in the RAAF in Australia in World War II.

He wrote several medical books and, with his wife, Isabel, played a significant role in assisting fatherless children in Japan after World War II. He worked as an opthalmologist at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, and led a group that established an ophthalmology department at the University of Melbourne. After his death in 1961, the Ringland Anderson Chair of Ophthalmology was gazetted in March 1963. It was the first chair in Ophthalmology in Australia.

Dr Anderson became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons at Edinburgh in 1919. On 2 December 1919 he married Isabel Mary McComas (d. 1972) at the Kew Presbyterian Church, and they had two daughters. In 1921 he completed a diploma of Ophthalmic Medicine and Surgery at London, and in 1929 he became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. Joseph received his MD from Melbourne University in 1934. He quickly established a reputation in Melbourne as a skilful ophthalmic surgeon, and his books Detachment of the Retina (Cambridge University Press, 1931) and Treatment of Nystagmus (British Medical Association, 1959) won him an international reputation. He was honorary ophthalmic surgeon at the Alfred Hospital and led the establishment of the Ophthalmology Department at Melbourne University. With his wife Joseph helped assist fatherless children in Japan after World War II. In retirement Joseph continued to travel the world and maintained in interest in research. His Taylor grandson and great grandsons attended Scotch. Joseph died in 1961. The Ringland Anderson chair of ophthalmology was established in his honour at Melbourne University in 1958 and appointed its first professor in 1963.

Photographs and Documents:


This photograph depicts Joseph Anderson in camp in Australia before embarkation. The AWM caption dates it as approximately February 1916, but 1917 seems more likely.


This photo of Joseph Anderson, in a splendid uniform, again officially dated approximately 29 February 1916.


A third photo in this sequence of Darge photographs from Breadmeadows.


Recommendation for Joseph Anderson’s Military Cross.


Joseph Anderson is at the far right of the front row in this photograph of 45th Battalion officers in France in October 1918. This was about six weeks after Joseph won acclaim for his efforts at Bellenglise.


  1. Australian War Memorial – Honours and Awards
  2. Mishura Scotch Database
  3. National Archives of Australia – B2455, ANDERSON J R
  4. Scotch Collegian
  5. The AIF Project -
  6. University of Melbourne website:

Page last updated: 11 November 2015