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andrews brothersThe Midland Counties Express on 16 October 1915 proudly displays this photograph, showing five sons of Mr Alexander Andrews of 27 Montrose Street, Wolverhampton, who were serving with the army:

  • Jack Andrews (top), age 28, who had been in the 14th Hussars for about 8 years and was last heard of in India. His other brothers had joined the Army since the outbreak of war.
  • Frank Andrews (right), aged 20, belonging to the 11th South Staffords and being on active service
  • Thomas Andrews (centre), aged 30, on active service with the Royal Field Artillery
  • Arthur Andrews (left), aged 25, in training with the Royal Field Artillery
  • Alexander Andrews (bottom), aged 24, also in training with the Royal Field Artillery.

The Andrews family were at 27 Montrose Street in 1901 with parents Albert Alexander and Martha, along with children Emma, Albert, Thomas, Charles, John, Arthur, Alexander, Annie, Frank and Fred. They were at the same address in 1911, along with children Charles, Arthur, Alexandra [sic], Frank, and Fred, and various other family members and boarders.

Jack or John as he was known at birth, was born in 1886. He was living with his parents in 1901 and was an errand boy. Given the information in the newspaper article, I think he is the John Andrews with service number 2491 who was with the 14th Hussars, serving in East Africa from 14 November 1915. I have been unable to confirm whether or not he married or had children, but he survived the war and died in Wolverhampton in 1939.

Frank has already been featured on this blog.

Thomas was born in 1884. He was living with his parents in 1901 and was an apprentice blacksmith. He married Sarah Rudge in Wolverhampton in 1910 (although his military service record has the date of his marriage as 2 January 1913), and in 1911 they were neighbours of the Andrews family at 27a Montrose Street, together with their 9-month-old son, John. By this date, Thomas was a blacksmith at a shoeing forge. The couple went on to have a further five children – Thomas, Charles, Emma, Arthur and Patty – between 1912 and 1925. Thomas was a Gunner in the Royal Field Artillery (number 98315), enlisting on 10 April 1915. He served in France from 1 August 1915, before being transferred to the Reserve in February 1919. Thomas died in Wolverhampton in 1961 at the age of 77.

Arthur was born in 1889. By 1911 he was a draper’s assistant. I have not been able to confirm further details of his military service, as there are a few possibilities. However, he did survive the war and died in Wolverhampton in 1939.

Alexander was born in 1892. By 1911 he was a drayman for a timber merchant. He joined the Royal Field Artillery as a Driver and later the Royal Horse Artillery (number 77629). He was the only brother who did not survive the war, as he was killed in action on 15 September 1916. He is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial, as well as on the M & B Springfield Brewery Works Memorial (so presumably he worked there at some point.