Hero’s actions remembered at ceremony

Commemoration of former headmaster of Hipperholme Grammar School, Captain Maynard Andrews, who died in the first world war. Family pictured with school pupils.
Commemoration of former headmaster of Hipperholme Grammar School, Captain Maynard Andrews, who died in the first world war. Family pictured with school pupils.

Captain Maynard Percy Andrews died saving one of his comrades from enemy fire.

The former headmaster of Hipperholme Grammar School was killed in the Battle of Ypres on August 14, 1915, while trying to rescue Private Charlie Lee who lived in Wilson Road, Wyke.

Commemoration of former headmaster of Hipperholme Grammar School, Captain Maynard Andrews, who died in the first world war.'Pictured are bursar Graeme Oliver, with relatives Brian Hall, Barbara Andrews, Kitty Hall and Barney Andrews.

Commemoration of former headmaster of Hipperholme Grammar School, Captain Maynard Andrews, who died in the first world war.'Pictured are bursar Graeme Oliver, with relatives Brian Hall, Barbara Andrews, Kitty Hall and Barney Andrews.

Captain Andrews, aged 44, endeavoured to get Private Lee back to the communication trench, himself leading the way, under heavy fire. But getting the stretcher carrying Private Lee down into the trench was difficult and Capt Andrews decided to take him over the top.

The words he spoke to his men, probably his last, were: “I shall not ask you to do what I will not do myself”.

Captain Andrews was shot in the head and died at the scene of his wounds.

School governor Alan Petford who carried out much of the research into Capt Andrew’s life said it was a remarkable story and that they are very proud to remember him.

Commemoration of former headmaster of Hipperholme Grammar School, Captain Maynard Andrews, who died in the first world war.

Commemoration of former headmaster of Hipperholme Grammar School, Captain Maynard Andrews, who died in the first world war.

It is almost 100 years since Capt Andrews left his post as headmaster at the school to serve his country in the First World War.

To mark the special occasion a celebratory lunch was held with nine of his family members, staff, former and present pupils, and members of the community.

Born in Shropshire in 1870 and educated at Oxford University, Capt Andrews was forced to give up his studies due to health problems resulting from a bout of typhoid he had suffered in infancy.

He left to become a cowboy in the Rocky Mountains citing that the mountain air would ‘kill me or cure me’. Returning two years later rejuvenated, he finished his studies and graduated from Oxford in 1895, achieving his MA four years later.

He spent the next few years teaching general studies before deciding to specialise in languages and spending a number of years in Europe. On his return he made a name for himself with the Education Board of the time as possibly “the first true modern languages teacher in the country”.

In 1911, he took up the post at Hipperholme, while there, he joined the Brighouse Company of the 4th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment - known as the Brighouse Territorial - where he quickly rose up the ranks to become a captain.

Mr Petford said Capt Andrews last moments were described by a large number of friends and pupils that had witnessed it.

Letters of condolences were sent to his wife Charlotte.

One reads: “Your husband was heroically helping to carry some of his wounded over a very exposed piece of ground when he was shot in the head and died very shortly afterwards. He need not have been doing it, but he went because he would not send another on so dangerous a task. It was an act of magnificent calculated bravery, but it was to be expected from him for he has acted so ever since he came out here.”

It is believed Charlotte moved to London which is when the connection with Hipperholme faded.

A memorial service was held at Coley Church because he commanded a company of locally recruited Territorial, many of whom had known him as a headmaster and a friend.

One of his three grandchildren who attended the ceremony at Hipperholme, Brian Hall, 75, from North Cambridgeshire, said his mum was the youngest of Capt Andrews’ children. “We are amazed by what the school has found out and very touched. It was all just a name in books.”

His wife Kitty, 71, said: “We didn’t know a lot. Brian’s mum was only eight when Capt Andrews died. We don’t know if Charlotte moved from Hipperholme when he went to war or whether she had to leave to live in Harrow in London. But I now wear her engagement ring.”

She said they have a little white book, as they know it, that members of the family have. They believe six were made, all the children had one and the grandchildren. “This book told us about his heroism but we didn’t know anything about the school. We knew he had been headmaster but we didn’t know anything before then. This is all very exciting to find out and a lovely opportunity to meet the people that are carrying on that great tradition here at the school.”

One of his other grandchildren Maynard Hall, 76, from Carlisle said it was absolutely fascinating because they didn’t know much about what had happened apart from the fact that he was killed. “I am just in awe of the work the school has done and inspired by it to update the family tree.”

Current headmaster Jack Williams said it was fascinating to compare his job to someone who did it before and although they were different it put it into perspective the challenges they face now and how they are different to 100 years ago.

“The school was a very different place, still very small, but catered for people from all over the area. The four houses back then were Halifax, Hipperholme, Lightcliffe and Brighouse, that is where all the boys that attended came from and I think that puts it into perspective the past of the school and gives me a focus to take it into the future.”