The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (18533) Corporal Roy Ernest Andrews, No. 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.47
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 16 February 2019
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Michael Kelly, the story for this day was on (18533) Corporal Roy Ernest Andrews, No. 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War.

Speech transcript

18533 Corporal Roy Ernest Andrews, No. 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force
Died of illness 13 April 1942

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Roy Ernest Andrews.

Roy Andrews was born on 25 March 1916, to Ernest and Myrtle Andrews of Portland, Victoria. He attended Portland Higher Elementary School, and then worked around Portland and Dimboola as a wireman and shift electrician.

Andrews enlisted with the Royal Australian Air Force in July 1940 in Melbourne. As he was working in a reserved occupation and needed the permission of his employer, he secured letters from the Borough of Portland Electric Supply and the Dimboola Power House, which both reported that Andrews was very keen on becoming an electrical mechanic.

Despite just failing the practical experience part of his trade test, he was ranked suitable as an electrical trainee. He was sent for technical training in West Melbourne, and then trade training at Point Cook. In February 1941 he joined No 2. Squadron at Laverton and worked as an electrical fitter.

In early December 1941, shortly before Japan’s entry into the war, No. 2 Squadron moved to Darwin, where it deployed detachments to the islands to Australia’s north, including Timor in the Dutch East Indies. Andrews was promoted shortly after this move, given the rank of corporal on 1 January 1942.

By mid-February it was clear that the Japanese invasion was imminent. The surviving aircraft of No. 2 Squadron, which had flown several missions against Japanese bases and shipping, were despatched to Darwin.

When the Japanese invaded Timor on 20 February, Corporal Andrews was one of 29 ground staff who volunteered to stay behind to provide radio contact and destroy equipment and stores. Taking to the hills in Timor, the group were confronted by the challenge of evading the Japanese while finding food, and coping with the ravages of malaria, tropical ulcers, and malnutrition.

Once the fittest of the group, by April, Andrews’ health began to deteriorate. He eventually lapsed into unconsciousness, dying in his sleep on the night of 13 April 1942, four days before the group was rescued by the US submarine Searaven.
Originally buried under a tree at Toeakaoe on Timor, his body was later reburied at Ambon War Cemetery.

Roy Andrews was 26 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among more than 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Corporal Roy Ernest Andrews, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Duncan Beard
Editor, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (18533) Corporal Roy Ernest Andrews, No. 2 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Second World War. (video)