Clarence James ANDREWS


ANDREWS, Clarence James

Service Number: 6708
Enlisted: 18 April 1916, Hobart, Tasmania
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 12th Infantry Battalion
Born: George Town, Tasmania, June 1895
Home Town: George Town, George Town, Tasmania
Schooling: George Town State School
Occupation: Sailor
Died: Killed in Action, Boursies, France, 8 April 1917
Cemetery: Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
No known grave
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)*
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World War 1 Service

18 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 6708, Hobart, Tasmania
30 Sep 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6708, 12th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Palermo, Melbourne
30 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6708, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1

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Biography contributed by Danielle Gray

Born June 1895, George Town and the son of Stephen and Clara Andrews of George Town.

Occupation prior to enlistment Sailor, who enlisted at Claremont 18th April 1916. Departed Australia on the HMAT Palermo on 30th September 1916 with 22nd Reinforcements. Clarence served in France 1916-1917 as a stretcher bearer. he was killed during shelling prior to the battle for Boursies on Easter Sunday morning, 8th April 1917, and was buried where he was killed, within the walls and ruins of an old chateau at Louveral near the village of Boursies. While a cross was erected on the grave of Private Andrews who was buried with 2 other soldiers, the grave was lost in later fighting. He is honoured at the Australian National Memorial at Villers Bretonneux.

After enlisting at Claremont in April 1916, Clarence Andrews left Australia on the 30th September 1916 on the HMAT Palermo and joined the 12th Battalion's 22nd Reinforcements who arrived in the UK in November 1916. After a brief training stint at Perham Down camp, Tidworth on the Salisbury Plain, Clarence Andrews was sent to the Front in December 1916. He joined the 12th Battalion in Bazentin-le-Grand, France after training briefly at Etaples. Clarence saw active service as a stretcher bearer with D Company of the 12th Battalion on the Western Front until early April 1917 where he was wounded in shelling directed at the ruins of the old Chateau de Louverval, where the 12th Battalion were sheltering prior to the assault on the village of Boursies on 8th April 1917. Red Cross records describes Clarence Andrews' death with the informant being Private Charles Woolford, also of the 22nd Reinforcements of the 12th Battalion:

"I helped to bury their bodies on the 10th April in a shell hole which was made by the shell that killed them, in the yard belonging to the old chateau at Morchies, not far from Lagnicourt. The shell blew them and a number of other men up while we were having breakfast on Easter Sunday morning in the chateau yard. I saw their dead bodies. We buried them next day on the spot where they were killed. Andrews belonged to the XVI Pl. D.Co and came over with me in the 22nd Rft. I knew him well. He came from somewhere near Launceston, Tasmania. He was dark, thick set, aged 23-24. We had been out on patrol all night and on Easter Sunday morning about 7 o’clock we were having our breakfast behind the walls of an old chateau which was in ruins near Morchies near Fremecourt on the Somme, when a shell exploded amongst us killing four or five and wounding about the same number. Andrews was killed instantaneously hit on the temple and I, as S/B helped to bury him within the walls in a grave with two others. I put up a wooden cross with the names of Donoghue, Andrews and McRaigne. I knew him well we had been together since we sailed from Melbourne in the “Palermo” on Sept 30th 1916 and were in the same Company and platoon, D. XVI. He came from northern Tasmania, somewhere Launceston way." - Informant Pte C.E Woolford No. 6795.

A memorial headstone in memory of Private Clarence Andrews was erected by his family in George Town Tasmania in the George Town Cemetery. The epitah on his headstone reads "In Loving Memory of Private Clarence James Andrews. Died of wounds in France between the 6th and 12th of April 1917, Aged 22 years. Somewhere in France he is lying. he answered his country's call. He died an Australian Hero. Fighting to save us all".