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Remembered Today:

36 Siege Battery RGA

Guest Barbara F

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I am researching my Gt Uncle S/Sergeant Arthur William Phillips 147994. He was in 36 Siege Battery, RGA and was killed in action 31 May 1918 and buried in Varenne Mil. Cemetery, Northern France.

Alongside him are three others, Able Seaman R Cook CZ/7674 RNVR, Sgt A Leeder 15495 Royal Fusiliers and Gnr J Playfoot 222483 RFA who all died within two days of him whilst most of the other graves show dates of September 1918 and October 1916.

Would anybody know if there was a Field Hospital at Varenne which brought these four together and who all died at a similar time co-incidentally or would it have been possible that they were all in the same unit and injured by an attack subsequently dying of their injuries?

Any information would be gratefully received.

Barbara F

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According to the CWGC Cemetery Report two CCSs arrived in early Sept 1918,the 3rd Canadian and the 59th British.


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These 4 chaps are all from different units, so, as you say, their deaths are likely to be coincidental. According to the CWGC website the cemetery was not used from May 1917 to April 1918 when the Germans launched their offensive in this area. Your relative and the other 3 men I would suggest were probably killed during the latter. (If you can check the SDGW records for your g uncle it should tell you whether he was killed in action or died of wounds.)

It might also be worth seeing if the 36 Siege Battery War Diary exists for this period at the National Archive - this would at least tell you where the battery was and what it was up to at the time.

Kind regards


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Unfortunately 36 SB diary ends in January 1918 so does not cover the period. The higher formation Brigade diary they were part of at the time does survive for that period and just might expand your knowledge. This was 78 Brigade and can be found at NA reference WO95/229. I doubt there is a connection with the others.

S/Sgt Phillips was transferred from the RFA. His other number was 36099, and he served first with A/182 Bde RFA

Rgds Paul

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Not sure if it takes you any further Barbara but from the evidence (not that SDGW is always 100% accurate) it looks as though your g/uncle was the only one of the 4 recorded as KIA.

SDGW shows Leeder and Playfoot (who they have as Robert) as DOW - and for Cook (from another source - see below) - also DOW

Name: LEEDER, Arthur

Regiment, Corps etc.: Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)

Battalion etc.: 7th Battalion.

Last name: Leeder

First name(s): Arthur

Initials: A

Birthplace: Gaywood

Enlisted: Winchester

Residence: Bishop's Waltham

Rank: SERGT.

Number: 15495

Date died: 27 May 1918

How died: Died of wounds

Theatre of war: France & Flanders

Supplementary Notes: FORMERLY 86788, R.F.A.

Name: PLAYFOOT, Robert

Regiment, Corps etc.: Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery

Battalion etc.:

Last name: Playfoot

First name(s): Robert

Initials: R


Enlisted: Burnley

Residence: Hull


Number: 222483

Date died: 28 May 1918

How died: Died of wounds

Theatre of war: France & Flanders

Name: PHILLIPS, Arthur William

Regiment, Corps etc.: Royal Garrison Artillery

Battalion etc.:

Last name: Phillips

First name(s): Arthur William

Initials: A W

Birthplace: North Kensington, Middx.

Enlisted: Shepherd's Bush, Middx.

Residence: Notting Hill, Middx.

Rank: F/S/SGT.

Number: 147994

Date died: 31 May 1918

How died: Killed in action

Theatre of war: France & Flanders

Supplementary Notes: FORMERLY 35609, 182 FULHAM BRIGADE, R.G.A.

Robert Cook is featured on the Jack Clegg Memorial Database - also shown as DOW with a bit more information

First name(s): Robert Allan

Last name: COOK

Number: Clyde Z/7674

Rank: Able Seaman


Service branch: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

Unit: Anson Battalion

Date of birth: 28 Mar 1893

Date of death: 27 May 1918

Cause of death: Died of wounds in 149th (RN) Field Ambulance (wounded 27/5/18)

Service history: Enlisted 6/1/16

Draft for BEF 25/9/16, joined Howe Battalion 26/11/16-23/4/17 Bomb wound right thigh, Invalided to UK 30/4/17

Draft for BEF 11/9/17, joined Howe Battalion 27/9/17, posted to Anson Battalion 7/2/18-27/5/18 Discharged Dead

Burial: Varennes Military Cemetery (FR 41)

Notes: A Grocer

born 28/3/1893

Next-of-Kin: Parents, William & Eliza, 7 Dundee Lane, Forfar.

Home address: 13 Union St., Blairgowrie.



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