2nd Lieutenant F. C. Andrews
SAC 1905-1906

2nd Lieutenant Frederick Charles Andrews was born in Toronto October 7, 1889, the son of Frances Andrews, of Toronto, and the late Charles H. Andrews. He attended Given St Public School, St. Andrew's College from 1905 to 1906, and the University of Toronto from 1910 to 1914 where he received a B.Sc. (Hon. in Mining Engineering). After graduation, Andrews was employed briefly at the Canadian Copper Company, Copper Cliff, Ontario.

In October 1914 Andrews went overseas and was appointed to the 2nd Battalion, Royal Leinster Regiment, a primarily an Irish regiment of the British Army.  After only six weeks of training he reached France and on Christmas night first went into the trenches.  During the following weeks he served in the severest weather on the Armentières front, at a time when the British forces were largely out-numbered and battalions could but seldom be relieved.  After the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the trench lines on either side became broken and confused. 

On Tuesday, March 16, 1915, he had been out at night with a party digging a new trench between the lines, and was returning in the dusk of dawn, when he was hit by a shot fired in error by the sentry of another battalion. He died an hour later at the age of 26. 

His Commanding Officer wrote that, had he lived, he would have been recommended for the Military Cross for his courage in lying out all night between the lines with several wounded men.

He is buried in the Ferme Buterne Military Cemetery, Nord, France (Grave Number: A. 19). Ferme Buterne Military Cemetery will be found 1 kilometre south-east of the village of Houplines, which is 2 kilometres east of the centre of Armentieres on the D945, and 2 kilometres north of La Chapelle D'Armentieres.

  • Canadian Virtual War Memorial Page for Frederick Andrews. This page includes a link to his commemoration on page 566 in the First World War Book of Remembrance.
With information from the University of Toronto Roll of Service, 1914-1918.

The following is an extract from the Battalion war diary which is held at the National Archive, in document WO95/1612. Although it does not cover the period of Lieutenant Andrews death, it does provide background information on the Battalion up to four days prior. Taken from www.1914-1918.net with thanks.

Incident Report

2nd Battalion, the Leinster Regiment
From Battalion war diary 8/12th March 1915

This is a brief snapshot of trench warfare in early 1915. In the flooded Flanders plain, both sides are seeking to improve their line. Small numbers of casualties are incurred.
The area where this action took place lies a little to the east of Armentieres. The red box marked on this modern map corresponds with the sketch shown below. The two known casualties are buried in Ferme Buterne Military Cemetery, which can be seen centre-left of this map.
Background
The 6th Division of which the Leinsters were a part had arrived in this area in October 1914. They continued to hold the line around Armentières through the dreadful first winter of the war. The conditions in which the infantry found themselves, in shallow, flooded, bitterly cold trenches almost defy description. Although fighting reduced in intensity, there were continual losses to shellfire and sniping, as both sides sought to improve their trench positions and gain dominance of no man’s land.
8 March 1915, the Battalion is enjoying a period of rest
Asylum baths and laundry re-opened for our brigade. About 300 men of battalion had baths and a change of clothing.
9 March 1915
Baths continued. No working parties.
10 March 1915, into the line
On this day, the British First Army launched a successful attack a little to the south of Armentières, and captured the village of Neuve Chapelle. The gunfire would have been plainly audible to the Leinsters. The high command planned to ensure that the enemy could not reinforce the area by engaging their front lines on either side, but in the event the German army brought up reserves very quickly, and the fighting became deadlocked.

720 blankets on charge of battalion have been disinfected at the 17th Field Ambulance between 7am on 9th and 7am on 10th.

6.45pm: Commenced relief of North Staffords.

11pm: Received instructions as to opening rifle fire all along our front at 5am tomorrow, after bombardment of certain points by our artillery at 4.50am.

12 midnight: Two platoons of reserve company find working party at new forward sap between left and right centre companies under RE . Received brigade message saying rifle fire tomorrow morning will be kept up from 5am to 5.10am.

11 March 1915
12.30am: Last nights orders cancelled. Neither artillery bombardment or rifle fire will now take place.

11.30am: BGC visited trenches.

7pm: orders issued for operations tonight, i.e. to push forward trenches to line of Portegal – Epinette road.

7.15pm: A Company left its billets at Halte and White Farm and took up position east of Portegal-Epinette road with patrols pushed forward to cover working party of 2/Londons. Two platoons of 2/Londons in position at White Farm and at disposal of OC Leinsters.

9pm: A company of 2nd Londons commence work on new trench on right of above section. Working party covered by A Company.

11.45pm: Working party withdrawn. Battalion HQ transfers to centre company.

12 midnight: North Staffords attack the houses around Epinette corner, and seize the line of road without much opposition. They commenced entrenching new line assisted by 12th Field Company RE, and a company of 2nd Londons. A good deal of hostile firing but casualties light.

12 March 1915
Our men stood to most of the night but fire lessened after 12.30am and the rest of the night was comparatively quiet.

5.15am: our guns opened a heavy bombardment on German trenches in Epinette re-entrant. Enemy only fired six shells in reply.

7am: Situation as follows: A Company holding line of road from W to X (see map attached). Disposition of company – 1 ½ platoons with machine gun at house R and trenches right and left of it; 2 sections in house A; 2 platoons entrenched along line XR with supports in houses west of road. North Staffords occupy line WV with two companies, but are west of road and slightly in rear of Leinsters. Two companies North Staffords in support in our main line centre and left trenches.

7.30am: Battalion HQ return to old position in cottage. Lieutenant O’Morchoe wounded by shrapnel to day – slight.

2.30pm: Enemy’s guns shelled our new line of trenches between House A and Epinette. Fire not effective on our front, but North Staffords at Epinette suffered several casualties.

5:50pm: Battalion HQ transferred to centre company.

9:10pm: Enemy’s guns again shelled Epinette and new line of trenches. Strong working parties under RE supervision improved the new line of trenches held by us and North Staffords. Our right company commenced work on zig-zag cut towards enemy close to railway. They were unable to dig deeper than two feet owing to water.

2 known casualties:
Corporal 4130 Valentine Mulkern, from Poplar, and 4771 Private James Coyne, a 38 year-old from Dublin, presumably killed late on 11 March 1915. Both men are buried in Ferme Buterne Military Cemetery