CORPORAL ROBERT JAMES ANDREW
24TH BTTN AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY
1ST SEPTEMBER 1918 AGE 25
BURIED: PERONNE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, FRANCE
Corporal Robert James Andrew was killed in action at the retaking of the summit of Mont St Quentin on 1 September 1918. The next day the Australian Infantry took Peronne. These were among the finest actions of the Australian forces during the whole war and their casualties were very high.
Corporal Andrew's wife instigated an Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau search for her husband. The results show how difficult it was to ever ascertain exactly what had happened to a soldier. Added to this was the fact that a Private GV Andrews, who also served with the 24th Infantry, in the same Company, was killed during the same battle on the same day. However, it seems as though witnesses were all speaking about the same man: "Andrew was from Victoria, tall, very thin, fair hair, about 26 years" [Sgt JH Bond 14.11.18.] but there is not much agreement about he died.
"I didn't see Andrew, who was a M/Gunner in my D.XV. killed instantly by a m.g.bullet through the head at Mont St Quentin about 4 pm."
"Andrews was in the trench waiting to go over when he was hit by a piece of shell and killed right out. I saw this."
"He was killed with four others by a shell in the dugout ... It happened about 4.10 pm before our hop over, and Fritz was busy strafing us at the time."
"I saw Morris D.Coy. S/B and Andrew D.XVI both killed instantly by the same shell alongside of me at Mont St Quentin about 6 pm in front line of trenches before the hop over."
"Casualty was advancing at Mont St Quentin when a machine gun bullet entered his side killing him instantly."
Corporal Andrew's wife, Rhoda, used the title of Sir John Arkwright's famous poem, 'The Supreme Sacrifice' for her husband's headstone inscription. The poem is much better known as the hymn 'O Valiant Hearts', which for many years was sung at Remembrance Services until its sentiments went out of fashion.