No. 4/7271, 4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Died of disease on Friday 15 September 1916 (aged 49)
Newtownards (Movilla) Cemetery, Co. Down (Grave 9. 111)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)
Newtownards Loyal Orange Lodge (LOL) No. 481
Newtownards Masonic Lodge No. 198
Andrew Heron was born on 26 June 1867 in Ballycullen, Newtownards and he was a son of John and Ellen Heron (nee McCormac, sometimes McCormick) who were married on 20 August 1853.
John Heron worked as a weaver and then as a potato dealer and he and Ellen had ten children including:
Andrew (born 26 June 1867 in Ballycullen, Newtownards)
Samuel (born 30 March 1870 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
David (born 29 November 1872 in Greenwell Street, Newtownards)
Alexander (Alex, born 27 March 1875 in Francis Street, Newtownards)
The Heron family lived in Ballycullen; Greenwell Street and Francis Street, Newtownards.
Andrew Heron and Mary Phillips were married on 23 December 1895 in Second Newtownards Presbyterian Church. Andrew Heron from Newtownards was a son of John Heron, a potato dealer. Mary Phillips was a daughter of Samuel Phillips, a weaver.
Andrew Heron worked a labourer, then as a fruiterer and then as a publican and he and Mary Heron (nee Phillips) had four children:
David (born around 1896 in England)
Andrew (born around 1898 in England)
Archibald (Archie, born 21 July 1903 in North Street, Newtownards)
Elizabeth Benson (born 19 July 1908 in North Street, Newtownards)
Mary Heron died of sarcoma on 10 March 1909 (aged 34) in North Street, Newtownards.
Andrew Heron and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Ritchie were married on 16 March 1910 in First Donaghadee Presbyterian Church. Lizzie Ritchie was a daughter of Alexander Ritchie, a mason (then deceased).
Andrew and Lizzie Heron (nee Ritchie) lived at 40 Francis Street, Newtownards.
Andrew Heron first enlisted on 20 November 1885 and he served with the Liverpool Regiment before being transferred in April 1889 to the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles. Andrew went to the Army Reserve in 1892 and he re-joined the Royal Irish Rifles in 1900. He fought in the South African War and was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with two clasps and the King’s South Africa Medal with one clasp. His service record was ‘exemplary’. Andrew Heron was discharged from the Army in 1902 and he worked as a publican and spirit merchant.
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Andrew Heron had around 17 years of service in the Army. He re-enlisted in Holywood on 16 September 1914 and served with the 4th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles on the Home Front until he was discharged on 31 December 1915 as being no longer physically fit for war service. Andrew Heron was suffering from valvular disease of the heart (VDH) and was ill for some months before he died of Bright’s Disease (kidney disease) on 15 September 1916.
Andrew Heron’s funeral was accorded military honours and the brass band of the 10th Royal Irish Fusiliers under Bandmaster F. May preceded the funeral cortege. His coffin was covered with the Union Jack and the mourners included representatives from the Masonic and Orange Orders. A firing party furnished by the 20th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles fired the customary three volleys over his open grave.
Amongst the mourners were Andrew’s brothers James, John, David and Alex. Sergeant Andrew Heron is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s); in Newtownards LOL No. 481 and in Newtownards Masonic Lodge No. 198.
His son Andrew and his brother James were both serving in the Army.