Lt Col Richard John Andrews DSO, MC, QSA

1876 Dec 8. Born at 3 Truman's Place, Stoke Newington. Birth registered in Hackney, Middlesex. Parents Robert & Sarah Andrews. The Baptism on 8 Apr 1877 confirms this.

1881 census at 70, Theobalds Rd, St Andrew Holborn Above The Bars And St George The Martyr. Richard is not with the family, but I am not convinced that the census taker actually filled their details in correctly - note "anything" and "don't know" against the father

Educated at City of London School according to his obituary

1891 Census, 14 yrs old, living with his parents Robert & Sarah and 4 siblings at 29, Stamford Road, Hackney. He is a Poulterer

1899 Jul/Sep married Emmie Heathfield Blackmore (abt 1877 - 1901) in West Ham, Essex.  Emmie died in 1901, and Richard was a Widower in the 1901 Census.

1901 census at 35, Warham Road, Hornsey, London. He is a widower as his first wife had just died. He is living with his living with his sister Emily & her husband Ernest Blackmore. He is a Provision Salesman. His obituary indicates that he served in the Boer War, and the record shows that he did serve with 28th Imperial Yeomanry. But given he is in UK in April 1901 and remarries in Jan/Mar 1902, and given that the Queen's South Africa Medal (QSA) which he had ‎was awarded to military personnel who served in the Boer War in South Africa between 11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902, it puts the time frame of his South Africa and his promotion to Sergeant to quite a short period.

1902. Boer War. Lance-Sergeant, 38810, Richard John Andrews, 128th Coy., 28th Battalion Imperial Yeomanry, The Queen's South Africa (QSA) Medal Clasps: Cape Colony, South Africa 1902.

1902 Apr/Jun. Richard's second wife was Emmie's sister, Edith Heathfield Blackmore 1880 - 1933. Emmie & Edith's parents were Joshua & Ellen Blackmore.(The two sisters had a brother Ernest Blackmore who married Richard Andrew's sister Emily Eliza Andrews) 

1902? - 1914 Chile

He appears to have abandoned his wife or at least left her behind in England.  In the 1911 Census his wife, Edith, is living with her sister Annie.  Annie's husband, William Henry Oakley Wildman, is also not around in 1911. Andrews returns to the UK alone from Chile, so she was not there then either. I do not not know what was happening. 

1915 Jan 13. Arrives in Liverpool from Antofagasta on SS Qumsa. Travelling 2nd class, he gives his profession as Civil Engineer.

From The South Pacific Mail - War Memorial Number (A Record of the West Coast Communities' Tribute to the Allied Cause 1914-1918)
ANDREWS, R. J. (Antofagasta)
Firm: Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway
Regiment: 17th Welsh Regt.
Was on the engineering staff of the Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway. Almost immediately after war broke out he left for England, sailing in October, 1914. He joined the 17th Welsh Regiment and has had a distinguished military career. He attained the rank of Acting Brigadier General, and was awarded the D.S.O. with bar, winning also the Military Cross and the French decoration, the Croix de Guerre with Palms. He has been presented with the Freedom of the City of London together with the sword of honour.

The railway started at the Chilean port of Antofagasta. It proceeded up the front range of the Andes to Ollagüe on the Bolivian border, then across the Bolivian pampas to Uyuni and Oruro. At Oruro, the gauge changed to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) (metre gauge) for the remainder of the route to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. After earlier ups and downs British business interests resumed control of the entire system in 1903.

His obituary states he was a Capt in Chilean Army but I cannot get confirmation of this

1915 Jan 18. He enlisted in the London Scottish as a private. . He gives his UK address as Riverside, Warham Rd, Harringay. This is his sister's address.

1915 Jul 4. Lands in France as a Private in London Scottish. He had been an Acting Sergeant, but reverted to Private on transfer

1915 Aug 6. In hospital with fever (pyrexia). Rejoined battalion 11 days later

1915 Oct 14. Promoted Corporal

1916 Feb 1. To UK as a candidate for commission.

1916 Mar 12. Commissioned into Devonshire Regt.

1916 Jul 2. Devon. R.— The undermentioned to be acting Capts. whilst comdg. a Co. Temp. 2nd Lt. R. J. Andrews, M.C.

1916 Oct 13. Devon. R.—Temp. 2nd Lt. R. J. Andrews, M.C., relinquishes the acting rank of Capt.

1916 He went to "Senior Officers School at Aldershot.

1917 Feb 8. Richard John Andrews, of 3 Truman's Place, Place, Stoke Newington, Middlesex, born 8 Dec 1876, father was Robert Andrews, admitted Freeman of City of London

1917 Apr 18. Welsh R Temp. 2nd Lt. (actg. Capt.) R. J. Andrews, M.C. (Devon. R.), to be actg. Maj. while 2nd in comd. of a Bn.

1917 Apr 24. He commanded the battalion (obit) during assault and capture of "Welsh Ridge"

1917 May 5. 17th Welch "The assaulting companies, moppers-up (100 men furnished by the 19th R.W.F.) Support Company and & R.E's were placed in their respective positions by Major R.J. Andrews M.C. (who was in charge of our part of the operations) and punctually at 11 pm our artillery commenced their barrage as arranged....Major Andrews, the Intelligence Officer, together with a party of signallers & runners followed the raiding party and established a post at R.21 b 6.5. Here a wire was run back to Battle H.Q. - at point R.26 b 9.9 in the sunken road and communications... Major Andrews was hit on the foot at 11.20 pm by a piece of shell but continued to "carry on"...At 2.30 am the Supporting Coy "B" withdrew - Major Andrews & party bringing up the rear, collecting any wounded en route - All tapes and telephone wires were safely brought back - also 2 Mauser rifles & 2 sets of German equipment. The party finally reported "all clear" to Lt Colonel Bryant at 3-5 a.m at Battle H.Q.

1917 May 11.17th Welch. Major ANDREWS left the Battalion to take over the temporary command of the 19th R.W.F. in DESSART WOOD.

1917 Jul 1. Temp. 2nd Lt. (actg. Maj.) R. J. Andrews, D.S.O., M.C., from Devon. R. (attd.), to be temp. Maj.

1917 Jul 1. 17th Welch. Battalion in Brigade Reserve. Battalion working on Front Line Systems. Major R.J. ANDREWS D.S.O. M.C. returned from leave and took over command of the Batt.

1917 Jul 11. Welsh R. Temp. Maj. R. J. Andrews, D.S.O., M.C., to be actg. Lt.-Col. while comdg. a Bn.

1917 Jul 18. Gazetted DSO. His D.S.O. was awarded for services at La Vacquerie 3-6th May, 1917. Temp. 2nd Lt. (actg. Maj.) Richard John Andrews, M.C., Devon. R. (attd. Welsh R.). For conspicuous gallantry and resource when in command of a brigade. Early in the operations he was wounded in the foot by a shell, but, with great courage and skill, he took effective measures to carry out an original plan, and subsequently directed a successful withdrawal. He personally supervised the retirement of the last supporting platoon in order to ensure, so far as possible, the safety of the wounded. He has been previously noted for gallantry and skill when in command of a battalion.

1917 Jul 30. Welsh R. Temp. Maj. R. J. Andrews, D.S.O., M.C., relinquishes the actg1. rank of Lt.-Col. on ceasing to comd. a Bn.

1917 Sep 29. Temp. Maj. R. J. Andrews, D.S.O., M.C., to be actg. Lt.-Col. while comdg. a Bn.,

1917 Sep. The 17th Welch War diary is signed by R.J. Andrews, Major  cdg. 17th Welsh Regt 

1917 Nov 23. On the night of 22nd-23rd November the 40th Division relieved the 62nd Division. At 1030 a.m. on 23rd November, assisted by 12 tanks, the 119th and 121st Brigades attacked the wood and village respectively, advancing under a barrage up a gentle slope, while the 5lst Division attempted to retake Fontaine, out of which it had been driven on the afternoon of the 21st. The G.O.C., 119th Brigade, whose Headquarters were in Graincourt, detailed the 19th R.W.F. to lead the assault on the right and the 12th S.W.B. on the left. The 17th Welsh (lieutenant-Colonel A. J. Andrews, D.S.O., M.C.) were in close support, and the 18th Welsh (Lieutenant-Colonel W. Kennedy, M.C.) in reserve, In the 17th Welsh “A” and “D” Companies were ordered to support the 19th R.W.F., and “B” and “C” the 12th S.W.B. [2nd-Lieutenant G.V. Jones, M.C., 18th Welsh, Bombing Officer, 119th Brigade,

1917 Nov 24. At 9 a.m. on 24th November, the enemy attacked, but were repulsed. Again at 11 a.m. they attacked in greater strength and drove back the right centre of the line, cutting off “A” and “D” Companies, 17th Welsh, in the north-east corner of the wood, and forcing the right of the 18th Welsh to fall back defensively, their flank being in the air. In this fighting, “B” and “C” Companies, 17th Welsh, lost all their remaining officers, as well as their splendid C.O., Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, wounded, while the 18th Welsh had six officer casualties. “D” Company, 18th Welsh, in their strong point on the left, held firm.

1917 He was then on "sick list" for 9 months with his wounds from Nov 24.

1918 Aug 17. Gazetted Croix de Guerre. Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel Richard John Andrews, D.S.O., M.C., Welsh Regiment.

1918 Nov 8/9 He was in command East Lancs crossing River Scheldt in final advance on Germany

1919 Apr 9. Embarked in UK for Archangel

1919 Jul 20. Andrews wrote a brief account of his capture and captivity and this appears in his personal file at Kew. In essence, he was attached to the 5th North Russian Rifles (part of the Onega River Column). Its men mutinied on 20 July 1919 and arrested all their own officers plus the British ones attached. He was interned by the Bolsheviks and remained a POW in Moscow till 1920.

1919 Jul 25. "M.26" (Lieutenant-Commander A. O. Fawssett, R.N.) rescued the small British garrison at Onega, which was in the hands of Russian troops who had mutinied and joined the Bolsheviks. Andrews and some other officers must have been removed by their captors by then.

1919 Aug 1. "M.26", "M.24," H.M. Auxiliary "Walton Belle" and a small Russian steamer carrying a mixed force of Russians, supported by British Gunners, entered the Onega River to retake Onega, but after a hot engagement failed to do so.

1920 Apr 15. Repatriated from Russia, crossed the Finnish border from Moscow with 13 other POWs

1920 May 13. Embarked in Helsingfors on Dongola for UK. Dongola was a RN transport ship which after the Armistice , repatriated deported Russians to Reval, and brought back refugees, before being refitted. She returned to commercial work in Oct 1920.

1920 May 22. Arrives back in UK on Dongola. He is then on official POW leave for 2 months till Jul 22.

1920 Jun 8. A rather odd letter in his file from MI5

1920 The British Army and Secret Service debate as to what to do with him

1920 Oct 5. Joined ADRIC with number 670. He was posted as Company commander of G Coy

1920 Nov 16. Andrews commandeered the Shannon, for riverbourne operations. This action led to much soul searching by the army and civil service as to the expense, as there were costs incurred when it was returned to its civilian owners. Andrews was a convenient man to blame for the problems incurred, as he was no longer in ADRIC. David Starrett, Crozier's batman, described Andrews as 'a machine that never ran down'.

1921 Feb 2. Relinquished Command of G Coy

1921 Apr 3. . Andrews resigned from ADRIC and was replaced by Lt Col Hemming at G Coy (Crozier resigned on 19 Feb, so the two do not appear to have been connected). I have not found evidence yet as to why he really did resign. The register shows that he was transferred to Vets Division at Gormanstown on this date, but this was then cancelled. The register only shows him at G Coy

1921 Apr 9. He appears to have been briefly recalled to the army, "reported for duty"

1921 Apr 29. "released" Demobilised by post.

1923 Jan 16. Killed at Ex-Officers Automobile Service, his business in London. He had established the Ex-Officers Automobile Service in London, making Crozier chairman & director. He was killed in his garage when an abrasive wheel shattered and hit him in the chest. Crozier claimed was by his side at the time, but that does not appear to be true

1923 Jan 20. Richard John Andrews was buried at Abney Park Cemetery, with his first wife Emmie (who died in 1901) and her parents, Joshua & Ellen Blackmore. Richard's second wife Edith was also buried there in 1933. Edith had remarried and her last name was Griffiths.

1923 Jan 27. Inquest report in Cork Examiner - January 27th 1923. Colonel Richard John Andrews of Lyndhurst Road. Leyton. was stated at the resumed inquest at St. Patterns have been caused his being struck by a fragment 'metal travelling a mile a minute. Colonel Andrews, who rose command battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment won the D.S.O. and other decorations. He carried business as a motor engineer in Hampstead Road, and last week was found by a next-door neighbour lying dead beside an electric motor, which was still running, and clasping a chisel in his hand. Mr. Walter Schroder heard further evidence. Thomas Roberts an employee at the works, stated that there was a flaw in the sharpening wheel of the machine. The flange was not on, and it was decidedly unsafe to work the wheel without it. His employer had not much practical knowledge of machinery. Mr. Macklin, Engineering Inspector to the Home Officer said that he had come to the conclusion that the accident was caused by improper of the wheel

1923 Feb 17. Nenagh Guardian’s “Killaloe Notes”: “During Colonel Andrew’s stay in Killaloe he was known for his barbarity and uncouthness. It will be remembered that is was this officer who captured the four Scarriff boys, who were afterwards done to death on the bridge in Killaloe. There are many in the district who believe that the law officer, in conjunction with DI Gwynne, the Black and Tan stationed in Killaloe, planned the destruction of the four boys. There is evidence of a case in the district where a raid was carried out at the instance of the Colonel and where nothing was found of an incriminating nature. A few days later the son of the house was arrested, and the Colonel in charging him before a military tribunal in Limerick produced soft nose bullets, and stated they were found in the raid on his home. The charge against the prisoner was, however, dismissed.”

1923 Mar 10. Probate to Edith Ricketts. (It is difficult to do other than speculate here. Andrews appears to be separated from his 2nd wife at this point.  Edith Ricketts was born in London area to Walter and Emily Rickets and lived near Andrews in Leyton. He gives her name and address on his MIC as Miss. E. M. Ricketts, 6 Station Road, Leyton which is indeed her 1911 census address. Andrews gives also on his MIC his sister's address in Harringay, which is about 4km from Station Rd, Leyton. Andrews address at Lyndhurst Drive was a similar distance from Miss Ricketts.

His last address 35 Lyndhurst Drive, Leyton

I grew up under the impression that Great Auntie Edie was engaged to a fellow who was killed in the Boer or possible First World War. She never married. Auntie Edie was a very much loved aunt. Just last week I was visiting my 91 year old mother and somehow we started talking about a silver round dish with a Devonshire Regiment insignia. Mum said she recalled Auntie Edie polishing it every Sunday. I sent pictures of the dish to my cousin Ruth and she did a bit of online research and came up with your thread. Karen and I shared a flurry of emails this past weekend. I just read the RJA obituary and noticed the reference to Devon!


1923 May 5. This letter from War Office fails to mention his second wife who did not die till 1933, but whom he appears to have abandoned to go to Chile soon after his marriage to he in 1902. It merely states that they had no information on the widow's whereabouts. His dispersal certificate in Oct 1920 says "married" The "Mrs Blackmore" in the letter below is his SISTER, Emily Eliza Andrews (1878-1952). Richard's sister Emily Eliza married Ernest Blackmore (1874-1951). Ernest was the brother of Richard Andrews' 2 wives - Emmie Heathfield Blackmore and Edith Heathfield Blackmore. Ernest was also the son of Joshua & Ellen Blackmore.


He had been involved in a very high profile case involving Lady Bonham Carter, daughter of Mr Asquith, former Liberal Prime Minister but then leader of the opposition in the UK. The terse comments from Dublin Castle officials in relation to Andrews indicates he was not in good stead when he left, and there was reference to his involvement in case of blackmail case. from "The Black and Tans in North Tipperary"