Called:- Tinker & Pa

Born:- 28th June 1912, St Fagans, Glamorgan Died:- 20th October 1994, Ronkswood Hospital, Worcester, Worcestershire

Child of: Hugh Allan and Alice Southwell PETTIGREW

Marriage: Andrew Hugh and Margery Hannah PETTIGREW

Picture of Andrew Hugh PETTIGREW

Andrew Hugh Pettigrew, about 1948

Biographical notes

Andrew Hugh Pettigrew was born in the Gardeners House in the Grounds of St Fagans Castle, where his father, Hugh Allan Pettigrew was head Gardener. Andrew and his two sisters, Agnes and Lorna spent many happy days playing in the castle gardens. They turned an old hip bath into a rowing boat which they sailed on the ornamental lake in the Italian Gardens.

Andrew was sent to boarding school at Weston Super Mare which he hated. He would have liked to have pursued a career in a science subject but his father was determined he should follow in the family tradition set by his grandfather and become a gardener. Andrew was accordingly apprenticed to Treseders Nurseries in Cardiff, studied at Kew and was also seconded as a student to the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. However, he eventually found an outlet for his scientific interests when his son Timothy was old enough to indulge in scientific 'experiments'. These sometimes led to disastrous consequences such as the occasion when too much chlorine was generated resulting in the temporary evacuation of the house and bleaching of the curtains in the kitchen where the experiment was being undertaken.

Andrew was a keen sportsman, playing Rugby and participating in boxing tournaments (winning at least one trophy). During the 1930's, he became a sparring partner with World Heavyweight Boxing Champion JACK PETERSON Cardiff (Born: 2nd September 1911 Died: 1st November 1990). Latterly whilst living in Worcester he and Margery were keen tennis players.

On the outbreak of war in 1939 the Army approached Kew with a view to commissioning a student with expertise in horticulture which would be useful in maintenance of the grassed military airfields in France. Andrew fitted the bill and he was commissioned into the Army as a Leiutenant and joined the Royal Engineers. After training in Yorkshire (Ripon), he was sent down to Dover to be in charge of a Bomb Disposal crew. This was exceedingly dangerous as Dover was regularly and heavily bombed at this stage in the war, and his predecessor had been killed whilst defusing a bomb.

One anecdote illustrates the hazards of this job. He was called out to deal with a bomb that had passed through the roof of a house into the bedroom where two people were sleeping in a double bed. Miraculously, the bomb passed through the bed, between the couple without injuring them. It passed through the room beneath the bedroom and through the lower floor into the ground. Here it was deflected sideways and ended up beneath the kitchen floor of the house next door. An excavation was made in the kitchen to expose the bomb and the standard treatment was to drill an access hole in the side and inject sugar solution to neutralise the explosive. An extremely risky procedure as excess vibration could have set off the detonator at any time.

He was also charged with mining Dover Pier which was to be blown up in the event of a German invasion. He later ruefully admitted that he was a little over enthusiastic in this project and had the explosives ever been detonated he reckoned that not only the Pier but half of Dover would have been obliterated!

In 1940 he was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force. It was here that he contracted acute Cerebral Spinal Fever (Meningitis) and became seriously ill (Margery, who was his fiance, vividly remembers receiving a telegram from the War Office conveying this bad news). At the same time the Germans were overunning France and the evacuation of the BEF began. His unit were scheduled for evacuation on the Cunard Liner Lancastria, but the acute nature of his illness meant that he was embarked on a hospital ship from Brest in advance of this. This proved to be a lucky escape as on the 17th of June 1940, when the Lancastria lay 5 miles off St Nazaire, it was attacked by enemy aircraft and sank with a colossal loss of life. Andrew was rushed to Roehampton Lane Hospital, London, where he thankfully responded to treatment. After discharge from hospital Andrew and Margery decided to get married as soon as possible and this took place in Llandaff Cathedral on the 21 June 1940. The couple initially lived with Margery's parents in St Fagans as Andrew's parents were still in France, desperately trying to return to the UK to escape the advancing Germans.

After a long recuperation, the War Office wrote to ask if he wished to be invalided out of the army. Andrew elected to rejoin and, in 1942, after a military medical examination, was deemed fit to be sent out on a troop ship to Lahore in India. Letters to Margery from this period indicate a relatively calm period with much opportunityfor sightseeing. However, this was to change abruptly when he was sent to Rangoon, Burma where he was involved with bitter jungle warfare with the Japanese. Although Andrew was fairly reticent about his experiences in Burma there is no doubt that it had a profound effect on him. Sadly but perhaps understandably one outcome was a life long hatred of the Japanese.

After the war Andrew was decommisioned from the army with the rank of Captain. The couple rented a flat in Heol Asaf Road, Radyr whilst Andrew's first employment was Assistant Park Superintendent (under Mr Nelmes) with Cardiff Parks Department.

In 1949, he was appointed as Parks Superintendent to the City of Worcester. Andrew and Margery moved to Worcester with their daughter Katherine (born 1947), and Timothy (born 1949). Initially they lived in one of several flats converted from a large white mansion called Cripplegate House (demolished sometime in the 1960's). About 1952 they moved to a small detached house (Park House) situated in Gheluvelt Park and backing on to Lavender Road. Andrew revitalised the Worcester's parks as far as he was able under the constraints of Local Government. One of his finest creations was a new park centred on the tower and spire of the otherwise demolished church of St Andrew's. Initially he was based in an office in Tybridge Street but in the late 1960's the Parks Department transferred to a complex of buildings centred on the old mansion of Perdiswell. He much enjoyed designing the layout of the various greenhouses and nursery facilities here. This remained his headquarters until his retirement in 1977.

Meanwhile, in the late 1960's Margery's parents Harold Edgar and Jesse Hill Daw, began to show signs of infirmity and Jesse developed Dementia and needed constant attention. The decision was taken for them to leave their home in St. Fagans and come and live with Andrew, Margery and their two children living in Worcester. This was a very difficult period as the house in Lavender Road (three bedrooms), was much too small for an extended family of six. The problem was solved in 1968 when the opportunity arose to rent a rambling old half-timbered farmhouse called Guarlford Court on the Madresfield Estate in Worcestershire. This was an idyllic place to live and was only saddened by the death of Harold Daw (about 1969), followed by his wife Jesse in 1970.

It was whilst living here that Andrew was interviewed by Christine Stevens from the St Fagans Castle Museum who recorded his childhood reminiscences of the Castle Gardens. These were subsequently used in the progressive restoration of the Gardens.

Eventually they had to leave Guarlford in the early 1980's when the Madresfield Estate decided to sell Guarlford Court. Andrew and Margery moved to a modern detached house in the village of Suckley which they rented until Andrew's final illness in 1994.

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