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George Andrews-Reid 1886-1973



  by  Wm. T. Quinton~Bartlett -Nephew 2002



  George Andrews was born to Levi and Susanna Andrews on May 05, 1886 at Ireland
  Bight (Great Northern Peninsula). He had two brothers William and Noah; three sisters
  Selina, Lottie and Fanny.

   Uncle George Andrews was but a boy and very capable with a boat at 15 years old. As it
  was on April 21, 1908 (Easter Sunday), he attended the church service, held by Dr.
  Wilfred Grenfell, who had stopped at Locks Cove. The resident s of  Ireland Bight
  always moved to Locks Cove for the winter months. Grenfells  intentions  were to cross
  Hare Bay, the largest bay on the eastern tip of the Great Northern Peninsula,
  Newfoundland and to continue over land  to Englee. He was on an emergency trip to
  see a patient named Charlie Hancock.

  " A forth night before the young man had been operated upon for acute bone disease of
  the thigh, but when he was sent home the people had allowed the wound to close, and
  poisoned matter had accumulated. The leg had to be removed, there was no time to be
  lost."    A Labrador Doctor 1919-W. Grenfell.

  After Grenfell left Locks Cove the next morning he was warned that the ice was breaking
  up and that a big sea was on, he was not to travel across Hare Bay but to go around.

  Nat Dawe and Levi Reid had concluded that if the sea conditions continued, they would
  loose the 800 seal pelts that was hauled on the shore line, after the previous days hunt.
  So every man and boy available in Locks Cove, was rounded up to haul the pelts further
  up the shoreline, away from the treacherous seas. It was a full days job, so a lunch was
  taken. By the time that the Dawe and Reid men and boys arrived, the sea had already
  began its pilfer of the pelts. It took the entire day but most of the pelts had been
  salvaged and pulled to higher ground.

  After the work was finished Levi Dawe decided to climb the near by 50 foot cliff, to see if
  there were seals on the breaking ice, if so they would try and launch a punt and hunt
  them the next morning. Scanning the ice flow, not a seal could be located and has he
  scanned the bottom of the bay, his eye caught a movement that looked more like a man
  than a seal. The only conclusion that could be made was that the object was Dr.
  Grenfell.

  During the lateness of the evening a plan was formulated to try and reach the English
  doctor who was drifting out the bay on a crumbling pan of ice, with only his dogs for
  warmth and food. A crew of five was selected to man the boat. They were  George Reid,
  his sons Bill and Levi; Nat Dawe son Levi and young George Andrews who volunteered. He
  was short and small but strong from working hard  at fishing and logging. George was
  given the task of overseeing  and assisting the 'two' Levi's  and Bill to get the boat and
  provisions ready.

  As Nath Dawe and George Reid were completing their process on assessing the wind
  force; its actions upon  the fragile ice and its directions and the temperature; planning
  the rescue of their beloved doctor and friend, George Andrews came to report that, "he
  and the boys had got the boat up, and out of the snow, and are getting her ready, she's
  in good shape, and were going to have to borrow paddles."

  The most important search and rescue mission ever assembled on the Great Northern
  Peninsula, was in a 'black' punt, managed by two adults, two young men and a boy.
  There was a big sea and the ice was moving about in a frenzied manner; it was severely
  cold for the temperature was hovering over the -20 degrees F (-29 C). There wasn't a
  cloud in the sky and the moonbeams bounced of the ice and water that was being stirred
  up by the tides, there was 'barely a breath of wind".

  Uncle George relates...

  "At 5 am , the rescue group gathered at George Reids house and a map of Hare Bay was
  placed on the kitchen table. Again the situation was assessed . The ice carrying the
  stranded doctor had moved to the mouth of the bay. There wasn't a breath of wind and
  it was the tides that had moved the heavy ice out of the bay into the ocean. The boat
  would have to be hauled  out over, heavy, fast moving ice. They agreed that no risk was
  to great, to attempt the rescue of the doctor, who had probably already  frozen to death
  in his 'football ' clothes. They stood to attend the business at hand, but before they
  moved Aunt Rachel Reid stopped them. She asked them to bow their heads and she
  asked God' protection for the rescuers and the doctor.

  There was a commotion as all the settlers gathered and the dogs made noise in their
  canine fashion, the sounds of the uneasiness reverberated of the cliff's.  'George Reids
  black punt' was moved across the ice by 20 men and then launched in a stream of water,
  among pieces of ice, rolling on the surface by the sea. Rowing through slob, and many
  times the boat had to be hoisted out of the water and hauled a field of ice and launched
  again, but at these times there were only five persons to do this task. By this time the
  boat was leaking badly for it had been rammed continuously by pieces of swiftly  moving
  ice.

  Finally, George Reid shouted out " I see -'s -'em  boys".

  The men kept rowing and bailing the water from the punt as they headed towards a black
  cluster on the shimmering ice. Eventually George Reid cries out again,  "yes! 'Tis 'em,
  boys, for I sees him waving a flag."

  "What a sight," Uncle George related to his nephew Bill,  in 1959, I've never beheld
   anything like it!  Didn't seem like it was the doctor, he looked so old and his face was an
  odd color. He hardly had on any clothes; there was blood all over him; and he stood in
  his bloodied dog skins.  The stench from the dog carcasses, which he had killed for food
  and clothes, was enough to make one sick.  He stood in the midst of a bunch of dogs,
  and this strange uniform he wore, with numbers on it (His school football jersey.), was
  strange looking clothes for a doctor to be wearing. Dr. Grenfell just stood there as if
  immobilized, he was helped into the boat. They all placed their arms around him and cried
  like children, they wrapped him blankets and placed him in the stern of the churning boat,
  and took the dogs on board. He wanted the pole, he had fashioned from dog bones, skins
  and carcasses. Already assured that  he would survive, he wanted his props, for the next
  speaking tour, to raise finances for the Mission."
  Uncle George Andrews treasured the pocket watch that was given to him, following the
  rescue. It has been inscribed with the words  "In memory of April 21st., 1908."

  Uncle George was married to Charlotte Victoria Boyd       and they had only one child, Ed
  (Ned) Andrews, born Sept. 28, 1909 who married Susan Rendell, in 1938. When Victoria
  Andrews died      Uncle George married his house keeper,   Rachel Andrews, born
  Southern Bay, BB,  in 1908 -1992.


  Shortly after the rescue of Sir Wilfred he and his brothers moved permanently to St.
  Anthony and became members  of the Legion of Frontiersmen, a quasi-military
  organization of which a local branch was started  by Dr. A . W. Wakefield of the
  International Grenfell Mission.  They had their own fishing crews and rooms. He had a
  general store until his first wife died. Then He worked for Bowater's as a carpenter.
   There he got steel wool in his eyes and totally lost his eye sight.

  He was a gentle man filled with humor, wit and music. On his property there was fishing
  rope strung everywhere. These he would use to guide him around his stores, wharf and
   the chopping block where he cleaved his fire wood. Every dance you could see Aunt
  Rachel leading Uncle George; He with the button accordion tucked under neat his arm, of
  to play music for the dance, where ever it may be. His radio was his friend and he kept it
  on a shelf over the daybed where he rested. Since I lived with them for periods of time I
  would observe him listening to Wilf  Doyle  and others play a new piece of music. After
  the piece was finished he would pick up is accordion and play an exact rendition. He
  would say, "shucks! Billy boy that's a great song to play at the  CLB  [Church Lads
  Brigade-estb. Nfld in 1882]." He used "shucks" in every sentence."

  He never once complained about being blind, and he compelled every new person that he
  met to come near him so he could put his hands on their face to see what they looked
  like.
St.Anthony