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26th Jun, 2022

Recruiting sergeant called to the Front died leading his men in battle

Ross Crawford 26th Aug, 2018 Updated: 27th Aug, 2018

CORPORAL Sergeant Major John William Andrews was killed in action on the Western Front this week, 100 years ago.

Unlike many of the lads who had been called up in Redditch, John was a career soldier and had been in the Army for 16 years at the time of his death.

Indeed during the early part of the war he had served as a recruiting sargeant in his home town.

However as the death toll steadily on the Western Front became harder to sustain, he was transferred to France where he joined the 4th Battalion of the Worcestershires.

He had only been in France for a short time before he was killed, aged 35.

John was born in 1883 in Tardebigge, the eldest of George Frederick and Maria Andrews’s five children.

The family lived at 3 Foxlydiate Hill and his father worked as a fish hook hardener and his mother was a laundress.

John worked as a grocer’s shop manager before joining up, seeing service in Malta and India.

In 1909 he married his sweetheart Maud, and the couple lived at Jubilee Villa on Heathfield Road in Redditch.

However information is scarce on how John met his fate.

A newspaper report of the time said he died leading his men into action on August 22, 1918.

The Regimental Diary of the Worcestershires tells how in early August the 4th had achieved a number of successes with small scale daylight raids into No Man’s Land, capturing the enemy and seizing weapons.

On August 20 they were moved back into the front line between Hazebrouck and Armentieres and as the German line showed signs of weakening they pushed out a number of patrols to reconnoitre enemy positions.

On the evening of August 22 the diary relates how a patrol of the 4th found three disabled artillery pieces left in their pits and speaks of ‘much shelling’ in the area.

CSM Andrews lies buried at Borre British Cemetery in France and is remembered today on the St Philips Church War Memorial in Webheath and on the War Memorial at St Bartholomew’s Church, Tardebigge.

With thanks to:

Remembering Redditch’s Fallen Heroes.

http://www.rememberthefallen.co.uk/

The Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War.

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