Airborne Engineers Association

Roll of Honour

 

 

Andy Andrews 15th Sep 1946 - 14th Dec 2019

Ralph Young

Introduction by John Ferry

Sadly, we lost another of the great characters from our Association recently, and at his funeral in Rochdale, I was asked by Davie Jukes to say a few words. Davie spoke about the times he spent and enjoyed with Andy spanning a number of years and I followed on with the soldier side. The turnout was fantastic, faces I had not seen for 20-25 years attended. Tim VDK carried our National Standard and I carried the Union Standard. A PRA and RE Branch Standard Bearer also turned up to line the route and members from 25 Fd Sqn RE were in attendance. Gen Sir Peter Wall also attended, and as an ex CGS that is how much Andy was respected.

 

Eulogy by David Jukes

I first met my friend Andy in October 1978, when I joined 9 Squadron as the Pay Corporal.  Andy was a little older, more experienced and with a hard-earned and well-deserved reputation.  Andy was no stranger to the Squadron nor the airborne ethos, having been with Plant Troop and on the directing staff of P Company. He then became Squadron SQMS. I can recall with great fondness, several events in Aldershot, Belize, Kenya, Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands.

Like so many, I owe a great deal to Andy.  The way he offered advice – particularly when it was most needed.  He was firm but fair, flexible yet pragmatic, serious yet fun-loving.  He also held firm opinions, such as the time when he - audibly - voiced his dismay at seeing someone with a ‘man-bag’ during a Sergeants’ Mess Meeting!

Andy was a competitive and talented sportsman - a welcome addition to any team – particularly rugby, where he excelled.  Like most, he enjoyed a post-match beer and a sing song.  His hit-list would include songs by Dean Martin and Roger Miller.  Another ditty about a lazy man who used to sleep in the afternoon.   He also liked a bit of banter and the chance to tell the odd joke, like the one about a baby polar bear feeling cold.  

I will remember Andy for many reasons.  An outstanding - morally courageous - soldier, a valued colleague and a loyal friend, trusted and genuine.  Always there to answer the call.  Many careers will have been shaped and enriched through having known him.  I’ll not forget Andy - a Sapper through and through and a fine example to us all.

Footnote:  Andy Andrews joined the Royal Engineers as a Junior Soldier in 1962.  His first posting - following basic training - was to 21 Engineer Regiment in Nienburg, Germany.  He went on to enjoy a hugely successful career, serving in Gibraltar, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Canada, Belize, Denmark, Kenya and the Falkland Islands.  Andy was RSM of 40 AESG before being commissioned in 1987.  He retired in the rank of Major in September 2001. His last appointment was as Quartermaster 15 Field Support Squadron in Ripon. 

Eulogy by John Ferry

I first met Andy back in 1975 whilst serving with 9 Independent Para Sqn. I had just finished my parachute training at RAF Abingdon in late 1974 and 9 Sqn were already half-way through a Nl Tour at Castle Dillon. Andy was the Plant Tp Staffy, and I remember a couple of incidents of note, however this example sums up what an excellent leader he was, one day Geoff Barlow crashed out the Quick Reaction Force because he was shot at!!! Andy cottoned on very quick that there was no terrorist attack, and it was the Sqn blokes using their own weapons to shoot Geoff’s milk off his window sill Andy managed to get the weapons back into the armoury before it got well out of proportion and he would have got in serious trouble for that, but Andy knew how much the importance of morale and a sense of humour is to a unit, especially whilst on Operations. HQ Nl never got wind of the incident, and that was down to Andy.

The second time I served with Andy was in Osnabruck, West Germany, 1984, when he was the SSM of 25 Fd Sqn RE. I was a recently promoted Sgt, and looked to him for guidance and advice when needed. Andy was highly respected by all the men in that unit, as he was always a fair but firm SSM when needed and tough as old boots. I remember one time after a very wet two weeks field training exercise, the CO of our regiment, decided to march everyone back to base, over 100km away whilst wearing our fighting order and carrying weapons. The CO even sent all the vehicles with the crews back to camp, and bussed the crews back to join us on the march. Every man jack was on the march. After two days of marching Andy developed a problem in his Butt, Piles to be precise. His trousers were soaked in blood, but Andy refused to give in, until the Regimental Doctor ordered him onto an ambulance, and off to hospital. When we marched through the barrack front gate, who was there to greet us, but our SSM, Andy Andrews, he persuaded the doctors to patch him up, so that he could meet his men at the gate. He gained the utmost respect of all the men in 25 Sqn that day.

To his wife Joan and the family, on behalf of Veterans of the Corps, it was an absolute pleasure to have known and served with Andy, I could go on for hours reminiscing on past events, (especially our R&R with the wives in Belize, San Pedro) and you as a family can be very proud of what he achieved in life. See you at the Sqn Bar one day Andy, Ubique my friend it was a pleasure to serve with you.

 

 

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