Lewis Yelland Andrews

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Lewis Yelland Andrews in the 1930s
Grave of Lewis Yelland Andrews in the Mount Zion Cemetery, Jerusalem

Lewis Yelland Andrews (1896-1937) was the British District Commissioner for the Galilee during the British Mandate for Palestine. He was assassinated by Arab gunmen on his way to prayer services at Anglican Christ Church in Nazareth on 26 September 1937.[1]


Lewis Yelland Andrews was a son of A.E. Andrews from Sydney, Australia. Andrews had fought in World War I for the Australian Imperial Forces.[2] He later served as British district commissioner for Galilee. His assassination on 26 September 1937, caused Britain to respond by outlawing the Arab Higher Committee and the arresting of its members. His assassination was considered to represent the apex of the great Arab revolt in Palestine.

Before his murder, one of Andrews' last tasks was to organise a program for the Royal Commission. He allegedly used his influence in favour of partition of the British Mandate. He was the object of particular hatred among Palestinians in the Galilee area for the manner in which he carried out repressive measures after the outbreak of the general strike of 1936.[3]

On 26 September 1937, Andrews, Pirie-Gordon (the assistant district commissioner) and Andrews' bodyguard (a British police constable) were on their way from attending service at the Anglican Christ Church, Nazareth when they were gunned down by 4 masked militant followers of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam.[4][3] Andrews died on the spot and the bodyguard later died at the hospital.

Britain immediately issued a warrant for the arrest of Hajj Amin al-Husayni. Shortly afterwards the Arab Higher Committee, of which al-Husayni was chairman, was declared illegal, and a warrant was made out for Husayni's arrest. Al-Husayni holed up in the Haram al-Sharif for some time and eventually slipped out under cover of dark and eventually made his way to Syria which became the committee's new base of operations. In the absence of the established leadership, more radical politicians assumed control of the resistance movement within Palestine itself. Anti-Zionist and anti-British attacks rapidly increased, as did British repression.

Andrews was buried in Jerusalem and his grave is preserved in the Protestant Mount Zion Cemetery there. He left a widow and three children.


  1. ^ Lewis Yelland Andrews, the Jews' forgotten friend
  2. ^ "Outrage Palestine", in: The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 29 September 1937, p. 15
  3. ^ a b Henry Laurens, La Question de Palestine:Une Mission sacrée de la civilisation, Fayard 2002 p.373.
  4. ^ "Arab Terrorists Murder Australian Outside Church", in: The Canberra Times, 28 September 1937, p. 1

Further reading[edit]

  • Sylva M. Gelber, "No Balm in Gilead: A Personal Retrospective of Mandate Days in Palestine," Carleton University Press (June 1989), pp. 100–101. ISBN 978-0-88629-104-4
  • Martin Sicker, "Pangs of the Messiah: The Troubled Birth of the Jewish State" Praeger Publishers (30 January 2000), p. 134. ISBN 978-0-275-96638-6