MacAndrew, Vernon William (1880-1940)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Vernon William MacAndrew (1880-1940), born 15 July 1880 at Mortlake, Surrey, son of George James MacAndrew (a merchant) and Flora Valentina MacAndrew (née Morice) of Juniper Hall, Dorking, Surrey. In 1912, Vernon MacAndrew was married at the British Consulate, Barcelona, to Mary Kastner (adopted name, Hayden), daughter of Edward Kastner of Apolda, Germany. They lived at Ravensbury House, Dartmouth, Devon and Churston Ferrers, Devon.
Attended Ascham School, Bournemouth.
Attended Sherborne School (School House) May 1894-April 1897.
In business: the MacAndrews Shipping Company.
Moved to Dartmouth in 1922 and bought Ravensbury House. A member of the Royal Dart Yacht Club and a Master of the Dartmoor Foxhounds. He gave Warfleet House to the YMCA to be used as a training centre in seamanship. He helped resuscitate small-boat sailing in Dartmouth and provided many boats for the Dart One-design Dinghy Club. He also gave three dinghies to the Royal Naval College. MacAndrew was Rear-Commodore of the Royal Dart Yacht Club, to which John Muir and Charles Turner also belonged.
In 1938, V.W. MacAndrew of Ravensbury House at Dartmouth, Devon, commissioned motor yacht Campeador V from Philip & Son, Ltd. of Dartmouth, built from designs by Norman Hart AMINA. She was the first yacht to be driven by 16-cylinder engines, which developed a total of 640 hp at speed of 900 rpm. She was 126 feet in length with a draught of 8ft. 6in. Her propellers were driven through 2-1 reduction gears, which meant that machinery space was considerably reduced, allowing increased accommodation. In 1938, MacAndrew’s 12-metre racing yacht, Trivia, won 21 prizes at Cowes Week, including the King’s Cup. MacAndrew used Campeador V as his headquarters when he raced in Trivia.
In September 1939, at the outbreak of war, MacAndrew offered Campeador V to the Admiralty for patrol work and offered to crew it. Campeador V was commissioned on 18 September 1939. Her command was given to Commander C.H. Davey, OBE, RN, retired, who had joined HMS Britannia as a naval cadet at the age of 13. His Sub-Lieutenants were Vernon William MacAndrew, John R. Muir and Charles E. Turner. The youngest of these men was aged 58 and the oldest 67. Campeador V was at sea 84 days out of the first 95 days of the war, patrolling the channel against submarines and minelayers during the winter of 1939-1940, the most severe winter for generations. Campeador V was known in the Auxiliary Patrol and in the Home Fleet as ‘the gallant little Campeador’.
When Vernon W. MacAndrew and John R. Muir were recommended for promotion to Lieutenant, Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, wrote across a recommendation certificate “Promote them, age will be served.”
At 8.50 a.m. on Saturday, 22 June 1940, H.M. Yacht Campeador V hit a magnetic mine that had been dropped by German planes the previous night and sank a couple of miles off Bembridge in the Isle of Wight. She sank with the loss of the Commanding Officer (Commander C.H. Davey), three Officers (Temporary Lieutenant V.W. MacAndrew, Temporary Lieutenant J.R. Muir, Temporary Lieutenant C.E. Turner) and 16 ratings (Steward H.G. Ash, Ordinary Signalman Roy Bexoby, Petty Officer Sidney Brimilcombe, Diesel Greaser F.W. Coleman, Ordinary Seaman Alan Cox, Seaman Charles W. Gall, Seaman Bertie R. Gooch, 2nd Hand Andrew Kelly, Seaman W.J. Kirk, Able Seaman Alexander Lakie, Seaman Charles W. Lee, Cook W.E. Pittick, Able Seaman Douglas G. Taylor, Able Seaman George W.J. Whitehead).
The Times reported on 23 July 1940: ‘These gallant gentlemen, by their fortitude and unabated cheerfulness, were a splendid example to everyone in the Portsmouth Command… As they would have wished, they died together in the service of their country, but their example will for long remain an inspiration to the younger generation, and the little Campeador will be remembered and talked about, long after the war is over, by those who served in the same waters.’
After MacAndrew's death his widow gave Ravensbury House to the YMCA.
Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire, Panel 44, Column 2 www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2370845/macandrew,-ve...
Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance.
Cecil Hunt, 'The gallant little Campeador' (Methuen, 1941)