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Abraham Andrews

Date of birth: 1897
Date of death: 2.9.1918
Area: Wrenthorpe
Regiment: Leicester
Family information: Son of Abraham and Annie Martha Andrews
Rank: Private
Service number: 40688

War Service

Abraham Andrews was Private 40688 in the Leicester Regiment 7th Battalion and formerly Private 2114 in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He enlisted on the 15th May 1914 at the age of 17 years and 2 months. It was said that he was a miner for the Victoria Coal and Coke Company and lived at Roberts’ Buildings, Bragg Lane End. He was recorded as 5 ft 3 and a quarter inches and was a single man. His next of kin was recorded as his father Abraham and his mother Annie Martha Andrews and he also had three brothers, Edward, Jesse and Benjamin Laurence and a sister Mary Jane also known as Jenny.
Abraham was sent to France on the 4th September 1916. On the night of the 10th September 1917 he had been wounded in the leg and foot by shells whilst at the front near Loos. The Wakefield Express reported his wounding on 20th October 1917
“Private Abraham Andrews, Leicestershire Regiment, Bragg Lane End, Wrenthorpe, was wounded by a bullet in the foot on September 10th and is in hospital abroad.”
There was some question about whether the wound was self-inflicted and an enquiry took place. Private Andrews’ statement said that he had been walking across fields to the Regimental Transport Field with two aeroplanes fighting in front and above him. He said “I saw some shells bursting overhead near the aeroplanes when suddenly something struck me on the 3rd tow (sic) right foot”. He had also been injured slightly the previous day in the right knee according to the statement and had been carrying no rifle – a fact that was confirmed by a Captain Hartshorne. Ultimately it was decided that there was insufficient evidence and he was classified as wounded in action.
For some reason Abraham returned to home soil on 19th March 1918 and did not return to France until 3rd August.
Abraham was killed in action on 2nd September 1918. The 7th Battalion were near Beaulencourt when at 3am on 2nd September they successfully attacked the sugar factory, only for the enemy to counter attack at 4.30am and drive them back. The sugar factory was retaken at 7am with 3 machine guns and 40 enemy prisoners taken. It was during this action this day that Abraham was killed and he is buried in the Bancourt British Cemetery. His effects went to his mother Annie M Andrews which included the British War and Victory Medals he was awarded. The Wakefield Express reported his demise on 28th September 1918.
“PRIVATE ABRAHAM ANDREWS – Mr Andrews of Bragg Lane End, Wrenthorpe, has received official intimation that his son Abraham Andrews of the Leicester Regiment was killed in action on September 2nd. He was a single man, aged 21 years and was in the old Territorial Force. He had been in Ireland and was subsequently wounded in France and was in hospital in England, returning to the front about a month before he was killed. He was a choir boy at Wrenthorpe Church.”
Incidentally Abraham Andrews was actually cousin to John Andrews who is also remembered on the war memorial , with their respective fathers being brothers.

Family Life

Abraham’s grandfather, who was also called Abraham, was born in Sampford Peverell in Devon and married Ellen. In 1861 they were living in Sampford Peverell but their youngest child, Abraham (Father of this Abraham) had been born in Somerset. By 1871 the family had moved to Carr Gate where they had had two additions to their family, one of whom was Joseph, John Andrew’s father.
In the 1901 census Abraham was living with his parents Abraham and Annie at Roberts’ Buildings, Bragg Lane End, Wrenthorpe. Father Abraham was a miner and said to be born in Somerset, while Mum Annie Martha was born in Stanley. He had an older sister Jenny who had been born in 1895 in Rotherham and a younger brother Edward who was only 3 months old. Abraham himself was four so must have been born around 1897 and he said to have been born in Swinton. The enumerator has recorded it as Swinton in Lancashire but there is also one near Rotherham which as his sister was born in Rotherham would be more likely. I searched the civil registrations for births and could only find the birth of an Abraham Andrews in Rotherham District in 1897. In his enlistment papers he recorded his birthplace as Swinton in Yorkshire.
Ten years later in the 1911 census, Abraham was a 14-year-old rope boy at the colliery. His father was also a miner and now said to be born in Wrenthorpe whilst his mother Annie ran a green grocery business. Jenny was now called Mary Jane and aged 17 and Edward was aged 10. There are two further children – Jesse who was born in 1905 and Benjamin Laurence born in 1909. The family are at the same address and the census records that two more children have died.

Photo of Bancourt British Cemetery. Rows of white headstones with plants in front of them. A cross monument to the left behind them. Bancourt British Cemetery

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