A WAR hero, community stalwart, former High Sheriff of Wiltshire and chairman of the county council has died at the age of 88.

Nigel Anderson, owner of the Hamptworth Estate, won one of the earliest Military Crosses of the Second World War when he was just 20 years old.

Mr Anderson was elected to Wiltshire County Council in 1953, the start of a 30-year council career.

He was the chairman of many committees and of the council itself from 1979 to 1983, before retiring.

During his time as county councillor, Mr Anderson was an alderman of the county until 1972, and, in 1991, he was the 999th High Sheriff of Wiltshire, something his son, Donald, said he "greatly enjoyed".

Mr Anderson was a chairman of the county Scouts Association, president of the Wiltshire Youth Orchestra and of the Redlynch and Morgans Vale Royal British Legion branch.

He also played an active role in village life and was a member of the governing body of the Hamptworth and Nomansland Primary School.

Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1920, Mr Anderson was educated at Marlborough College before going on to Trinity College, Oxford, in 1938, with a view to following both his father and grandfather into medicine.

In 1939, he joined the 4th (TA) Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and was posted to Northern Ireland, where he met his future wife, and later entered into the Norwegian Campaign, covering the Scots Guards' withdrawal from Krokstrandem.

On his return, he was posted to No.2 Commando raiding on the French coast, before he was seriously wounded in 1941 and returned home.

He then decided to study geography and anthropology and went on to teach geography at Radley College near Abingdon, before inheriting Hamptworth Estate from his cousin - moving there in 1952.

His son, Donald, said: "He loved the countryside and understood how it worked and how it needed to be managed.

"He was very knowledgeable about birds of prey, particularly owls. He was also a very good fisherman, an excellent game shot and had a particular interest in military history."

His passion for the countryside led him to become the county president of the Country Landowners Association (CLA) and he was a founder member of the Timber Growers Association.

He is survived by his wife, Daphne, son Donald and grandchildren, Kate and Guy.

A private funeral service will be held at the Hamptworth Estate on Friday.