Sunday, 25 May 2014

St Michael's: Christopher Boyd Andrews

Captain Christopher Andrews RMLI, officer commanding No. 2 Company, photographed during training at Tavistock, Devon circa 1914 (© Trustees of the Royal Marines Museum)

Christopher Boyd ANDREWS
Died 11th May 1915

Date of Birth: 20th May 1880
Place of Birth: St Jude’s Vicarage, King’s Cross, London

Christopher Boyd was the youngest son of the late Rev. John Marshall and Lucy Anne Andrews. He had seven surviving siblings: Mary Agnes (b. 1868), Cecil Rollo Payton (1870-1951), Henry Russell (1871-1942), Archibald McLagan (c1875-1920), Ernest Lancelot (1877-1918), Clement Osborne (1878-1944) and Dorothy Lucy (b. 1883). A third sister, Helen Langford Andrews, had died, aged 2, in 1875. In 1891, the census shows Chris (as he was known) living at home in The Vicarage, Hampstead Lane with his father, the Vicar of St Michael’s Church, Highgate, his mother, five siblings, four boarders, a cook, a house maid and a parlour maid. 

Chris and Lance Andrews' father, Rev. John Marshall Andrews, died in 1896, long before the onset of war. The Guardian newspaper published an obituary on 5 February 1896 (p. 7):

JOHN MARSHALL ANDREWS. On Monday week passed away, at the age of seventy-two, a parish priest well known in the north of London— John Marshall Andrews. He was one of those clergy who, as the late Dr. Evans said, " make no noise in the world, and would not be heard if they did," and who yet serve to keep the Church of England green and make her presence felt in the parish in which the providence of God has called them to minister. Educated at King's College, London, he took his title with Canon Dale, of St. Pancras, in 1853, and became one of the curates of the poor district of St. Jude, Gray's-inn-road, carved out of the larger district of St. Peter, Regent-square. In 1858 he was given the charge of this same district. There was neither permanent church, school, parsonage-house, nor endowment. In a few years, by indomitable perseverance, by personally pleading the cause of his charge, as we have been told, in every banking-house in Lombard- street, and wherever he thought he could obtain assistance, he cleared off a debt of 1.000J., and was appointed vicar of the new parish which was formed on the consecration of the permanent church on St. Jude’s Day, 1863. Four years later a vicarage- house, and, in 1871, parish schools, were secured, and for thirty- five years he laboured quietly and unobtrusively amongst his people, loved and respected by all with whom he came into contact. Endowed with no brilliant gifts, he was, as the writer of this brief memoir had ample opportunities of judging, one of the best parish priests and systematic visitors in the Church of England. We have known him to sit up night after night with a sick parishioner who never attended his church. In rescue work —of all work the least attractive—he was for many years indefatigable. Many a poor and degraded woman owes her changed life to the midnight meetings held in St. Jude's Church and schoolroom, in the Gray's-inn-road. After thirty-five years spent in the most uninviting portion of London, Bishop Temple promoted him to the less exacting duties of the parish church of Highgate; but his health had already given way, and on Monday week " the labourer's task was o'er," and he was laid to his rest in Finchley Cemetery on the following Thursday. The funeral service was held in St. Michael's Church, Highgate, which was crowded; and a large number of clergy from Highgate, and from the rural deanery of St. Pancras, of which he was the oldest member, were present in the chancel, to testify their respect and affection for one whose blameless life and unaffected piety endeared him to all with whom he came in contact.

In 1901 Chris was serving in the Royal Marine Light Infantry and in 1911 he was farming with his brother Ernest Lancelot (Lance) at Margaret River, Western Australia.

Service Details: Captain – Commission 2nd Lieutenant Royal Marine Light Infantry 1st January 1898; appointed Captain 3 Oct 1906; resigned commission 1910; rejoined Royal Marines 30th December 1914, appointed Officer Commanding No. 4 Company Plymouth Bn. MEF 6th February 1915 

The full story of Chris and Lance's farming life in Australia and wartime experiences are told by Penelope Ransby in her excellent book, Dream of Margaret River: A story of love and loss from the Great War (Centennial, 2008). Details of the book and how to order a copy can be found at We are very grateful to Penny for sharing her knowledge with this project and for sourcing the images used here.


Place of Death: near Krithia, Dardanelles

Grave of Captain Christopher Andrews, Plymouth Battalion, Gallipoli, 1915. Photograph taken by 2nd Lt. Charles Lamplough.
© Trustees of the Royal Marines Museum
Place of Burial: No Known Grave.
Chris’s grave at Gallipoli (pictured above) could not be located after war. He is commemorated in perpetuity on the Helles Memorial. (69)

Commemorated: Helles Memorial, Turkey Panel 4

The Marquis de Ruvigny, A Biographical Record of all Members of His Majesty’s Naval and Military Forces who have Fallen in the War (London: The Standard Art Book Co., Ltd.) 
 . . . educ. Cholmeley School, Highgate.  . . . His Commanding Officer wrote of him: "His men revered and respected him; he met his death solely in serving their interests and actively .seeking their welfare." His older brother. E. Lancelot Andrews, of the 2nd Australian Contingent, was severely wounded at the Dardanelles.

Jack Marshall, comp.. Great Britain, Royal Naval Division Casualties of The Great War, 1914-1924
Private Horace Bruckshaw, No.4 Company Plymouth Bn. recorded in his diary, p.38:- "Tuesday May 11th 1915. Poor Captain Andrews killed by a sniper just after dinner. We have lost our best friend."

Penelope Ransby, Gallipoli Dead from Western Australia (sponsored by the Western Australian Genealogical Society Inc.)
Chris’s troops were devastated by his death. In their diaries Private Horace Bruckshaw wrote ‘A mound, a small wooden cross and a few pebbles alone mark the last resting place of as brave a gentleman as ever walked.’ And Second-Lieutenant Charles Lamplough wrote ‘We are all awfully fed up. He was awfully popular with the men’. 

C. B. Andrews and his brother, L. E. Andrews, are both also commemorated on the Margaret River Roll of Honour in the south-west of Western Australia.
With kind permission of Penelope Ransby of

The Margaret River Progress Association recorded ‘We, the residents of the Margaret River district, desire to place on record for the benefit of present and future settlers for all time, the fact that Captain Andrews (Royal Reserve of Officers) met his death while defending the Empire, and fighting for his King and country in the Dardanelles.


  1. How lovely to see the names of the Andrews brothers listed on your website. I have just started researching Lance and Chris as their names are on the Memorial Board here in Margaret River Western Asutralia. It is gratifying to know that the charming, intelligent gallant men that I have just found are also remembered in the land of their birth. Congratulations. Yours is a great website!! Pauline Graves Margartet River W A

  2. Thank you so much, Pauline. We have are grateful for all the support we have received from researchers in Australia. We would love to read more about your research. Please do share the details of web links, books etc when you are ready. If you are ever in London please do come and visit. And look out for another Australia-related post soon!