A “GREAT officer and a true gentleman” who served the country for more than 40 years has died aged 87. 

Major Barry Andrews was a popular figure to all he knew, his wife of 37 years Diana said, and not just in West Moors where he lived but far beyond. 

His widow and family have received a huge volume of caring messages since his death this week.

Brought up on a farm in Yorkshire where he started out his working life, Major Andrews was called up to join the military in 1957. 

Salisbury Journal: Major Barry Andrews (1937 - 2024)

He was instructed to join the Yorkshire Regiment but, the described adventurer he was, requested to join the Parachute Regiment. 

The new recruit later went on to become ‘best recruit’ in his platoon and, when he was fully trained, he stayed as a PTI (physical training instructor) in Aldershot. 

After that, Major Andrews went on to serve with four battalions, including serving in Aden where he received an MiD for his work, Cyprus, Bahrain and Northern Ireland. 

His last service in the army was being officer commanding (OC) of the Junior Parachute Company helping young recruits. 

Salisbury Journal: Major Barry Andrews (1937 - 2024)

Salisbury Journal: Major Barry Andrews (1937 - 2024)

“Barry was a father role model for all the youngsters who came in,” Diana, 76, said. “Because he came up from a soldier and ended up a major, he was respected by everybody. 

“He never shouted, he never got cross; he would try and persuade the juniors to do things a different way.” 

Major Andrews retired as a soldier in August 2002 – 45 years after his first day in the Parachute Regiment. 

Outside his illustrious career, Major Andrews lived life to the fullest: he and his wife have visited every war grave in the Commonwealth and met the first man who touched down on D-Day in the glider. 

Diana concluded: “He was my world and my adventurer and whatever he did, I did. If he went abseiling, I went abseiling. If he went parachuting, he’d say ‘come on I’ve got you, let’s jump out of the Red Devils’. 

"We were so lucky to meet one another when we did over a hotel reception desk – it was one of those romantic meetings when Barry happened to come in with a drink. 

“He was a wonderful person.” 

Major Andrews is survived by his wife Diana, daughters Elaine and Tracey, stepchildren Kate and Andrew, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.