Anderson was born the first son of General David Anderson, Colonel-in-Chief of the Cheshire Regiment, and his wife Charlotte Christina (née Anderson) on 9 January 1872 in Newton-by-Chester in Cheshire, England. Educated at Marlborough College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Anderson was commissioned into the Cheshire Regiment in 1890.
He also took part in World War I joining the British Expeditionary Force and serving with 8th Division, then with 11th Army Corps, then with 15th Army Corps and finally with the 1st Army. He was, effectively Chief of Staff, of 1st Army and it was his task to prepare for the assault on Vimy Ridge in 1917.
After the War he became Commandant at the Staff College until 1922 when he moved to Army Headquarters in India. He was appointed General Officer Commanding Baluchistan District in 1924 and Quartermaster-General to the Forces in 1927; he retired in 1931.