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Description

This audio clip from an oral history interview with Colin Edward Anson was recorded by the Imperial War Museums on 11 February 1991. In the clip, Colin describes how he changed his name to join X Troop.

Colin Edward Anson – a short biography.

Colin Edward Anson was born Claus Leopold Octavio Ascher in Berlin in 1922. His father was arrested by the Nazis and died in the Dachau concentration camp in 1937. Colin fled to Britain on the Kindertransport in February 1939. He avoided internment and joined the Pioneer Corps, before being transferred to X Troop. He was badly injured serving in Sicily in 1943. Following a brain operation, he re-joined his unit and fought in Yugoslavia and Italy. After the war, he worked in Germany during the denazification process. He married fellow refugee Alice Gross and worked for various travel companies in London. He died in 2016.

Transcript

My name was a bit of a difficulty because there were various other people whose name began with ‘A’ and there was a tendency to pick a name in which both your surname and your Christian name would have the same initials—in case of embroidered handkerchiefs or what have you—and Andrews and Anderson, all the obvious ‘As’ had already gone. But at that moment, an Avro Anson happened to fly overhead, and it struck me as a very short and agreeable name, and a not very common name, so at that moment I became Anson, and the Claus in my original name became Colin. The middle name of Edward is purely on the spur of the moment, because Captain Hilton-Jones looked up and said, “No middle name? It’s usual to have a middle name.” So, I simply picked that out of fresh air, and that is how Claus Leopold Octavio Ascher was made into Colin Edward Anson.

Sources.

Imperial War Museum, Oral history interview with Colin Edward Anson, 11 February 1991 [accessed 20 July 2022]

The Newsroom, ‘Obituary: Colin and Alice Anson’, in The Scotsman, 19 July 2016 [accessed 15 August 2022]

Depository: Imperial War Museums.

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