Saturday, 18 July 2015

Luton Soldier Wins DCM and Bar

Sergeant Arthur Andrews [Luton Times]

Sunday 18th July 1915: Company Quarter-Master Sergeant Arthur Andrews of the 2nd Highland Light Infantry has become only the second man in the Army to add a clasp to the Distinguished Conduct Medal he received. This is equivalent to winning the same decoration for the second time. His first medal was given in recognition of his conspicuous gallantry and ability in keeping telephonic communications intact, often superintending the repair of wires under heavy fire. At the time he wrote to his wife “I have kept my promise. You remember that I said I would either get the DCM or the VC, but everyone who has been out here all the time in the trenches deserves one, for I have seen many deeds deserving of recognition, but no officer has seen them.” He wrote in similar terms to his mother: “I did not do anything to deserve it, for there are thousands in this war who deserve it more and don’t get it, but, all the same, I am proud to receive it, for it will be something to look at”.

Three weeks ago Sergeant Andrews unexpectedly arrived home at 15 Adelaide Street, Luton. He made no mention of any deed for which he expected a second decoration, but since he returned to the Front he has again been awarded the DCM for his heroism in keeping telephone wires in working order. According to the citation “He carried out his duties with great bravery and devotion, under a very heavy shell fire, and under conditions of serious difficulty. He maintained the telephonic communications throughout, frequently mending his wires and carrying messages to the front and rear”.

Arthur Andrews is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews of 110 Wellington Street, Luton and an old boy of Queen Square School. He has served in the army for twelve years and has been at the Front since August without suffering any injury [1].  His wife is a descendant of a soldier who fought under Wellington at Corunna and Vimiers, and from a family which is highly respected in her home town of Wanlockhead, Dumfrieds. She was delighted to receive the following letter from the Mayor of Luton yesterday:

Dear Madam, I have been informed that your husband has been awarded a second Distinguished Conduct Medal for his services at the War, and it gives me very great pleasure to congratulate him most heartily on the remarkable distinction which he has earned. The town is very proud of him, and I trust that he may return to you safe and sound, at no distant date. I am, yours faithfully, W. J. Primett, Mayor.

Sources: Luton News 22nd July 1915; Luton Times and Advertiser 18th June and 13th August 1915

[1] Sergeant Andrews was commissioned as a Lieutenant in February 1917 and attached to the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was wounded in the legs on Easter Monday 1917 when a “bomb” (grenade) dropped by one of his comrades exploded by his feet and one leg had to be amputated, bringing his military career to an end.  [Source: Luton Times 22/2/1917 and 27/9/1917]

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