Philip Andrews was born in New York City on 31 March 1886. In 1882 he was appointed a Naval Cadet by Honorable A A Hardenborg, Congressman from the Seventh District of New Jersey. He completed the course at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, in June 1886, and after serving two years at sea, then required by law, was commissioned Ensign on 1 July 1888. Through subsequent promotions he attained the rank of Commander on 27 May 1909, and 1 January 1912, he was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Navigation with the accompanying rank of Rear Admiral. Upon detachment he assumed his permanent rank of Commander, was promoted to Captain from 26 March 1913, and was commissioned regular Rear Admiral to date from 13 November 1919. He served in the temporary rank of Vice Admiral from 21 June 1923 to 10 October 1925; was transferred to the Retired List in the rank of Rear Admiral on 31 March 1930, having reached the statutory retirement age, but continued active until relieved on 16 June 1930.
Following graduation and two years sea duty in USS Brooklyn, and USS Pensacola, he was commissioned Ensign in 1888 and assigned to the Coast Survey attached to the steamer Blake. In May 1891 he was transferred to USS Chicago and in August of that year became a Watch and Division Officer of that cruiser. He had instruction at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and after a short course in ordnance at the Navy Yard, Washington, DC, reported on 23 February 1893 for a tour duty in the Bureau of Ordnance, Navy Department, Washington, DC, which lasted until 29 January 1895.
Sea duty which followed included service aboard USS Raleigh, USS Newark, USS Columbia, and USS Brooklyn: and staff duty attached to USS Baltimore and USS Bennington. On 8 November 1898, he became Inspector of Ordnance, South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and in May of the next year was detached for further sea duty. Successive service in USS Pensacola, USS Solace and USS Petrel was preceded by duty on Asiatic Station attached to USS Castine from December 1900 to May 1901, and command of USS Wompatuck from 19 May 1901 until June 1902. For six months he served as Navigator of USS New Orleans, and for two months thereafter on the Staff of Commander in Chief, Pacific Station.
He was ordered on 9 February 1903 to the Training Ship New York, and served as her Flag Lieutenant until August 1904. He reported on 1 September to the Naval War College and completing the course of instruction on 30 December of the same year reported to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, where he had duty first in connection withthe General Board, later in the Bureau of Navigation, and again with the General Board.
On 17 March 1907 he reported to the New York Shipbui1ding Corporation, Camden, New Jersey, for duty in connection with fitting out USS Kansas, and joined that battleship on her commissioning, 18 April 1907. He made the world cruise, 1908-1909, in the Kansas, and after detachment on 7 May 1909, served until October of the same year at the Naval War College. After a period of duty as Aide to the Secretary of the Navy, Navy Department, Washington, DC, he was commissioned Chief of the Bureau of Navigation, and served as such in the rank of Rear Admiral, until 26 March 1913.
Brief temporary duty with the General Board, Navy Department, preceded command of USS Montana from 4 May until 23 July 1913, and of USS Maryland until 31 December 1914. On 2 January 1915 he became Commandant of the Naval Training Station, San Francisco, California, with additional duty as Supervisor of the Twelfth Naval District and Senior Member of a Board to survey vessels on the Pacific Coast. When relieved of command of the Naval Training Station, San Francisco, he again had a course of instruction at the Naval War College, and on 29 March 1917 joined the staff of Commandant, Fifth Naval District, Norfolk, Virginia, for duty until January 1918.
Assuming command of USS Mississippi on 31 January 1918, he commanded that battleship through most of the remaining period of World War I, and from 24 September 1918 until 12 March 1919 was in command of the US Naval Base, Cardiff, Wales. During the latter period he was also in command of a detachment consisting of USS Chester, USS Aylwin and USS Wickes, known as the Baltic Detachment, to visit German Baltic ports. On 22 March 1919 he assumed command of US Naval Forces Operating in Eastern Mediterranean, USS Olympia, and later USS Pittsburgh, flagships. His title was changed on 7 August 1920 to Commander US Naval Detachment in Adriatic.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for "exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility as Commanding Officer of USS Mississippi, and later, as a Rear Admiral in command of the US Naval Base, Cardiff, Wales, and Commander of the US Naval Forces in the Adriatic."
Returning to the United States via Vienna, Prague and Paris, he reported 30 June 1921, to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and served as Commandant of the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia. He had additional duty from January 1923 as Commandant, Fifth Naval District and Commandant, Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads, until relieved on 21 May 1923. Taking passage from New York to Cherbourg, France, in June 1923, he assumed command of US Naval Forces, Europe, on 21 June, in the rank of Vice Admiral.
On 10 October 1925, he was relieved of that command, and upon his return to the United States reported as Commandant, First Naval District, with additional duty as Commandant of the Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts. He was transferred to the Retired List of the Navy on 31 March 1930, but continued in his assignment until relieved of all active duty on 16 June 1930. He died on 18 December 1935.
Rear Admiral Andrews had in addition to the Distinguished Service Medal, the Spanish Campaign Medal; Philippine Campaign Medal; World War I Victory Medal, Overseas Clasp; and the Grand Cross of the Order of the Savior by the Greek Republic.