John Dowse Andrew was born in Ashby de La Launde in 1916, the family having moved from Braceborough in South Lincolnshire. His father William Kynaston Lloyd Andrew was a farmer from Rutland. His mother Helen Cartwright Dowse (Nellie) was born in Honington. The family moved to Normanton and John (the younger son) was educated at Carlton Scroop School and then Bluecoat School, Stamford. On leaving school he became an apprentice butcher and then went to West Bridgeford.
In June 1940 he joined the Essex Regiment and was later transferred to 2nd Battalion, The Leicestershire Regiment. In September 1940 the battalion moved to the Western Desert and took part in several of the early desert battles under General Wavell, before being rushed to Heraklion to take part in the defence of Crete. German paratroops attacked their position in May 1941. Nothing more was heard of him until 11 Jul when his mother heard that he was missing (his father having died in 1937). In September (on his birthday) she learnt that he had died from wounds on 30th May whilst a prisoner of war in a hospital in Greece. He is buried at Phaleron War Cemetery, Athens