Russell, Andrew (Andy)
No. 6693, 1st Battalion, Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders
Died of wounds on Tuesday 22 September 1914 (aged 31)
Netley Military Cemetery, Hampshire, England (Grave C. E. 1587)
Newtownards and District War Memorial
Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s)
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
Andrew Russell was born on 2 November 1882 in West Street, Newtownards and he was a son of Andrew and Eliza Russell (nee Bell) who were married on 24 June 1875 in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church St Mark’s). Andrew Russell from East Street, Newtownards was a son of Andrew Russell, a labourer. Eliza Bell from West Street, Newtownards was a daughter of Joseph Bell, a labourer.
The Russell family lived in Robert Street and later at 18 Mark Street, Newtownards.
Andrew Russell Senior worked as a general labourer and before that he had been a soldier in the South African War. He died of pneumonia on 17 June 1906 (aged 54).
From census details it may be concluded that Andrew and Eliza Russell (nee Bell) had at least eleven children:
Andrew (born 4 July 1876 in Circular Street, Newtownards)
Mary (born 24 June 1878 in South Street, Newtownards)
Andrew (born 12.00 pm 2 November 1882 in West Street, Newtownards)
Eliza (Lizzie, born 1.00 am 3 November 1882 in West Street, Newtownards)
Samuel (born 16 January 1885 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
Mary (born 1 January 1887 in Mark Street, Newtownards; died of hydrocephalus 25 May 1890)
Agnes (born 4 May 1889 in Mill Street, Newtownards)
Mary (born 18 November 1891 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
Jane (born 19 November 1892 in Mark Street, Newtownards)
Thomas (born 9 August 1896)
William (Willie, born around 1902/1903)
From Press reports in 1914 it may be concluded that they had two other sons, Joseph and John. It was reported in the Press that, at the outset of the Great War, five of Eliza Russell’s sons were on active service:
Joseph Russell, Royal Irish Rifles, formerly Royal Irish Fusiliers
John Russell, Royal Irish Rifles
Andrew Russell, Cameron Highlanders
Samuel Russell, No. 6800, ‘C’ Company, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Thomas Russell, Highland Light Infantry
Andrew was the first of the two Russell brothers to die.
Andrew Russell was an Army Reservist.
Andrew Russell and Mary McConnell were married on 25 December 1913 in Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, Belfast and they lived at 56 Templemore Street, Belfast. Nine months later Mary was widowed when Andy died of wounds on 22 September 1914.
Andy Russell never saw his only daughter Mary who was born on 20 September 1914, two days before her father died. Private Andrew Russell (No. 6693) was 31 when he died in Netley Hospital, Southampton as a result of a bullet wound in the chest. He was buried in Netley Military Cemetery, Hampshire.
Private Andrew Russell (No. 6693) is commemorated on Newtownards and District War Memorial; in Newtownards Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Mark’s) and in the Belfast Book of Honour (Page 568). There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
PEACE PERFECT PEACE
UNTIL THE DAY DAWN
Andy Russell’s twin sister Lizzie was married to Thomas Clarke who was serving with the North Irish Horse (No. 794). They lived in West Street, Newtownards and at the end of September 1914 Lizzie Clarke was informed that her husband was in hospital in France. Later Thomas Clarke was transferred to Netley Hospital – the same hospital where Lizzie’s twin brother died.
Just over one month after Private Andrew Russell (No. 6693) died of wounds his brother, Private Thomas Russell (No. 12167), was killed in action in France on 28 October 1914.
Private Andrew Russell’s mother, brothers and sisters placed an In Memoriam notice in the 25 September 1915 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle and it contained the verse:
We oftimes sit and think of him,
We cannot think he’s dead;
We little thought when he left home
It was our last farewell.