A Peaceful Place to Rest

 

West Hill Cemetery, Winchester

 

Burials 4

 

Wilfred Andrews
Captain of the Cathedral Bell-ringers
b. 1873
d. 22 July 1949

 

Mr. Andrews was born in Cirencester and was already a skilled ringer when, at the age of 19, he came to Winchester in 1892 to work in a dispensary. Early the next year, he responded to an appeal from the Dean in the Hampshire Chronicle for experienced ringers, and thus began his long association with the Cathedral and its bells. With the confidence of youth he accepted the post of tower captain, but found the pressures of his apprenticeship and the egos of the older, less able, ringers too great a challenge and resigned. By 1899 the Dean had become concerned about the drinking habits of the tower captain and his cohorts, who had been recruited from Eastleigh where they were employed at the South Western Railway Carriage Works. Having rejoined the Cathedral band in July 1896, Andrews was re-appointed captain in 1899.

 

In the same year he established St. Swithun's Mineral Water Works in Culver Close (in competition with some five other suppliers in the city). For forty years he supplied a variety of soft drinks to domestic and business customers in the area, and was also a coal factor. With his distinctive Edwardian beard and in his riding leathers, he must have cut quite a dash as he travelled the local highways and byways on his motorcycle in pursuit of business. In 1903 he married Miss Minnie Welch who had a millinery business in Jewry Street. The couple lived for some fifteen years in South Wonston, moving in 1933 to Stanmore Lane.

 

Portrait of Wilfred Andrews by William LintenPortrait of Wilfred Andrews by William Linten

 

Portrait of Wilfred Andrews by William Linten By kind permission of the Archives of the Winchester Cathedral Bellringers

 

His life-long interest in ringing, and his extensive knowledge of the 'exercise' was much in demand, and his activities were not confined to Winchester Cathedral although the bells there were always his first love. Having joined the Diocesan Guild of Bell-ringers in 1896, he held a number of posts during the next half century and, as a member of the Bishop's Advisory Committee, was instrumental in promoting the rehanging and augmentation of many peals of bells in the surrounding villages. His experience was of great importance to the Chapter when he lobbied Dean Selwyn (no lover of bells!) in 1933 for the old and tuneless peal of twelve to be re-cast. The re-dedication service on 20 March 1937 probably marked the pinnacle of his achievements in Winchester, when some four hundred ringers from the Guild sat down to tea after the ceremony in the Guildhall.

 

Throughout his life he spent his evenings training and encouraging young ringers in local towers, and his obituary notes that 'even towards the end of his life, he could still bring such grace and ease of action to the physical side of the art [of bell-ringing] that it marked him out as a real master of his craft'. For fifty years as tower captain at the cathedral, he ensured that every appropriate state, religious, and celebratory occasion was appropriately marked, from half-muffled ringing for the loss of the Titanic in 1912 and knells for the death of kings, to joyous 'Royal Salutes' for coronations and victory celebrations. 'Royal Salutes' involve all twelve bells being sounded simultaneously for twenty-one blows with 'Queens' intervening, repeated twice, the noise being akin to that of the Royal Artillery salutes that we still see enacted at the Tower and in Hyde Park today. An oil painting of him by William Linter hangs in the ringing chamber.
(Hampshire Chronicle 30 July 1949 and 4 January 2003; Colin Cook, Archivist and Publicity Officer, Winchester Cathedral Bellringers.)

 

Colonel F.D. Brown VC
1st European Bengal Fusiliers, Indian Army
b. 7 August 1837
d. 21 November 1895

 

Francis David Millest Brown was born at Bagalpur, Bengal, probably the youngest of three brothers and three sisters. His father was a Magistrate employed by the Honourable East India Company who, at the time of his birth, was Officiating Commissioner of Revenue and Circuit at Bagalpur. His mother was Catherine Jemima Gane. His eldest sister Hannah married, secondly, Field Marshal; Sir Neville Chamberlain GCB GCSI who died on 18 February 1902 and is buried in the churchyard at Rownhams near Southampton.

 

He was educated privately and at Grovernor College, Bath and was gazetted Ensign in the Bengal Army on 8 December 1855. He was promoted 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st European Bengal Fusiliers on 7 March 1856. On 16 November 1857 he was awarded the Victoria Cross "for great gallantry at Narrowly at the imminent risk to his own life, rushed to the assistance of a wounded soldier who he carried off, under heavy fire from the enemy whose cavalry were within forty or fifty yards at the time". He was subsequently presented with the medal by the C-in-C India, Sir Hugh Rose at Moultan in December 1860. After various regimental and staff appointments he retired in the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel on 9 August 1894.

 

He married first, Jessie Rind Russell. They had two sons; the eldest, Lieutenant Frank Russell-Brown was killed in action near Bloemfontein on 30 March 1900. The second son, Claude Russell-Brown, who after distinguished service with the Royal Engineers in South Africa and in WW1, was subsequently appointed Professor at the Royal Military College, Canada from 1905 to 1910.

 

He married, secondly, Jessie Doris Childs with whom he had four sons and a daughter. The sons all joined the Army. The two eldest served with the 6th Gurkha Rifles, the youngest of the pair being killed at Gallipoli. Of the younger two, one was a Colonel in the Royal Marines and the other retired as a Major-General in the Royal Engineers.

He died at Sandown, Isle of Wight, and was buried in West Hill Cemetery after a service in Winchester Cathedral. His VC was presented to Wellington College by his youngest son where it remains to this day.
(Hampshire Chronicle 23 November 1895 p6; Nicholas Ritchie, Wellington College
VC research www.chapter-one.co/vc/award
www.stewart.prestel.co.uk/vcross.htm