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Remembered Today:

The Phillips brothers from Oswestry


suesalter1

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I'm still trying to track down soldiers who served with my great-uncle. In his diary, he mentioned 3 brothers, John, Arthur and David PHILLIPS. They all served in 'D' company, 16th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Two were apparently killed at Mametz Wood, but I can't find them on the CWGC website. I quote from my great-uncle's diary:-

 

I often think with sadness of Arthur Phillips, Oswestry and his sad fate.  He was with the original crowd that travelled from Wrexham to Llandudno.  Later his two brothers joined up as well.  There was no vacancy in A Company for them so they were put in D Company.  Arthur was not satisfied with this arrangement; he wanted to join them in D Company so he was moved.  The three brothers were together when they went over the top towards Mametz Wood.  John was hit and fell down dead; Arthur was wounded but carried on until he failed and fell saying “I can’t go any further” and he died.  David, the third brother, came through unharmed to all purposes but a short while after we arrived in Ypres he was taken out of the line, having lost his mind.  I have a picture of the three brothers on my wall at home and I often think what became of David.  Would it have been kinder if he also had died with his brothers?  I met his parents and his sister while we were at Llandudno, a loving family, loving towards one another and respectful to everyone.

 

Can any of you good people throw any light on the subject?

 

Thanks,

Sue

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There don't seem to be any matching Phillipses on the Oswestry war memorial:

https://menonthegates.org.uk/men_home/17201-2/

Although there is a John J. Phillips, there are 2 John J. Phillipses on the CWGC database, neither of whom seem to fit:

John James Phillips, Laundryman, Mercantile Marine, of Tilbury, Essex and

John Joseph Phillips, Sgt., RGA, died 1917

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Well, that's the Arthur Phillips all right. I can't find a John Phillips either. It's possible the other two brothers weren't from Oswestry as uncle says he met the family in Llandudno, presumably after the war.

 

Sue.

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48 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

How about this man?

 

Private PHILLIPS, WILLIAM ARTHUR

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1548123/phillips,-william-arthur/

Service Number 18078

Died 11/07/1916

16th Bn.
Royal Welsh Fusiliers

 

Has a Pension Card which also mentions George Phillips 23058 RWF

Pension Ledger comes up with George Frederick Phillips 23058

Comes up on CWGC as: Fred Phillips 23058 16RWF died 11/7/16

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1548062/phillips,-fred

 

Edit: Both PC an PL for 18078/23058 give father as George Phillips of Horsemans Green, Whitchurch

 

Edited by Matlock1418
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William Arthur Phillips was born in Tenby. I'm just checking Ancestry for him and his brothers,

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There is a John Phillips on the Whitchurch War Memorial

 

Edit: But other's research suggests this is 10979 KSLI

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/159764/phillips,-

Edited by Matlock1418
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Just found that Arthur Phillips was born in Whitchurch, so could be right.

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The problem is that between June 15 & August 15 1916, only 3 Phillipses died according to CWGC.

William Arthur(the man above) killed11/7/16. 16th Bn.No family details.

Fred 23058, killed 11/7/16. 16th Bn. No family details.

William 27695, killed 10/7/16. 17th Bn. Manorbier, Tenby.

 

No John.

 

 

Edited by Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
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Okay, Arthur Phillips brother was actually called Fred! Lord knows where uncle got the name John from? Both born in Whitchurch, both 16th Battalion, both died on the 11th July. On the 1911 census, another brother is listed - Norman Henry Phillips (David?) One sister also listed Elsie May. Ties in with uncle's diary.

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1 minute ago, suesalter1 said:

Okay, Arthur Phillips brother was actually called Fred! Lord knows where uncle got the name John from? Both born in Whitchurch, both 16th Battalion, both died on the 11th July. On the 1911 census, another brother is listed - Norman Henry Phillips (David?) One sister also listed Elsie May. Ties in with uncle's diary.

Excellent.

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Yep, both brothers commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Sad. Gonna check newspapers now as uncle said he had a photo of all brothers. Don't know where that is now.

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It's a shame that Chris Baker (The Long Long Trail) had to take down the page from LLT that listed (Over 300) sets of brothers that died on the same day in the Great War.

The Phillipses might have been listed.

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Just to confirm what the forum thinks

Arthur is William Arthur

John is probably George Frederick known as Fred

 

I thik the third brother referred to is Sydney who is 23057. So in front of "Fred" in the queue. His service records are 

https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid=1114&h=802711&indiv=try&o_vc=Record:OtherRecord&rhSource=7814

Born 1888. So he presumably is the survivor. One issue is he was back in UK in May 1916 and was discharged unfit in Sept 1916. So may put that down to a good story. Norman Henry seems to have been too young to have been there in 1916. Not found any link with Oswestry, In 1911 he is working as a gardener in Rugeley. 

 

So Sydney, Arthur, Fred seem to be the 3. And attached to a family tree on ancestry we have

1548166784_FredPhillips.jpg.e0a57037bcca42cc7bb79823e623b111.jpg

Arthur

468393632_ArthurPhillips.jpg.57ff82022f315fdaa4f9375df7155b82.jpg

Sydney

382069578_SydneyPhillips(Middleton).jpg.3d3d116fea16be034c83dfaaae7b646e.jpg

And together

760908754_SydneyArthur(1).jpg.c5ca34d25dbeac07088e100b170a5fb2.jpg

Edited by Mark1959
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Think its now "David" we are looking for [assuming no more diary deviations with names!] as "having lost his mind" and yet been a survivour [of Mametz and possibly the war]

I'm thinking possibly shell-shock / neurasthenia so possibly a disability pension is yet to be found

Guess we may have to wait a bit until another the WFA / Fold3 releases - their next batch of Pension records - Those that survived the war?

 

Edit: or for Sydney it now seems

Edited by Matlock1418
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Oh, how I love this forum! My brothers are found! Thank you everyone for your superior knowledge. I am so grateful. I have never seen this photo, even with all the photos my great-uncle's daughter (my 2nd cousin) has. This photo will go into the English translation of the diary I'm working on, if that's okay.

 

Thanks so much.

Sue.

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Both the brothers who died are commemorated on the war memorial at Hanmer (west of Whitchurch, and in former Flintshire), at the entrance to the churchyard.  Horsemans Green is a hamlet within that parish, and the family ran the bakery there.  Walking a few yards up the path to the church, Sidney's grave is close  by on the left - he died in 1956 but apparently never properly recovered his senses.  The church itself contains several other relevant WW1 memorials which bear their names, including an illustrated Book of Remembrance.  The Horsemans Green former Scout hut (now Community hall) also has a brass plaque bearing their names which came from a disused Primitive Methodist Chapel.

 

They are also on the Hanmer panel of the North Wales Heroes Memorial Arch in Bangor, Gwynedd; and on the Tallarn Green village war memorial a bit further north nearer the Cheshire border.  Possibly they attended the little school there, since they are on an Illuminated Roll of Honour of people who attended the local Anglican church or school (church closed, now in the school).  Finally, they have cards in the Flintshire County WW1 Roll, compiled in 1919 and presently at the Flints. County Records Office in Hawarden

 

Norman also joined the RWF, arriving in France in the last days of the war.  He was the only one of the four to have descendants.    

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8 minutes ago, clive_hughes said:

Both the brothers who died are commemorated on the war memorial at Hanmer (west of Whitchurch, and in former Flintshire), at the entrance to the churchyard. 

I wonder if we were to ask the Vicar of Hanmer nicely , he might be able to send us a photo of the memorial?

And the church.

Maybe a selfie?

:lol:

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12 hours ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

I wonder if we were to ask the Vicar of Hanmer nicely , he might be able to send us a photo of the memorial?

Hamner War Memorial photo has already been bagged. https://www.iwm.org.uk/memorials/item/memorial/17882 

No selfie from the Rev. though!

 

Edit

Of possible interest there is a Soldier's Will for William Arthur Phillips, 18078

https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Wills?Surname=phillips&SurnameGrants=phillips&YearOfDeath=1916&YearOfDeathGrants=1916&MonthOfDeath=7&MonthOfDeathGrants=7&DayOfDeath=11&DayOfDeathGrants=11&RegimentNumber=18078&AdvancedSearch=True&IsGrantSearch=False&IsCalendarSearch=False#soldiers 

Probably very short and 'standard' in style and content - but you'll never know until you have looked

Edited by Matlock1418
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I know Hanmer Church so well! A lot of my ancestors (the ALLWOOD's) are buried there. I have pictures of the church, but obviously only photos of my ancestor's graves. I am that way in May, so might be able to get a photo of Sydney's grave. 

My great-uncle tended to call his comrades different names, instead of their real Christian names. This makes tracking them very difficult to find. Having the photo of the Phillip's brothers is great. I'm hoping to track down all the people he mentions in his diary and hopefully find photos to put faces to names.

 

Thanks once again to everyone. Another step forward for my work in progress!

 

Sue

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Brethren, to them that ask it shall be given....my close-up of the WW1 panel on Hanmer War Memorial.  Sorry, the Vicar isn't into posing in selfies!

 

 

 

 

Hanmer WW1.JPG

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  • 2 years later...

Hi Sue,

            This morning (Monday 11th July 2022) I was looking through some old family photos that my Cousin dropped off a few weeks ago along with some other papers. Amongst all of this was a large blue note book that had belonged to my paternal grandmother, Emily Roberts formerly Davies née Roberts (1899~1987), she had written various poems out and other things. It was not until I flicked to the back that I found she had copied out a letter to a Mrs. Phillips from her son Arthur, dated Sunday 2nd July, (no year (as it turned out the 2nd of July 1916 fell on a Sunday)). My Gran wrote on the top that Artur had died in France shortly after writing to his Parents. 

      I searched in vain looking for Arthur Phillips but then on trying various variations this site came up with the title "The Phillips brothers from Oswestry" and I began to read through the above, it sounds like your Uncle's diary has been a gold mine of information.

     My Grandmother was born at the Hill Farm, Lower Wych (Wychough), Malpas, Cheshire and William Arthur Phillips was living with his Parents and Siblings very near by at Wigland, in 1901. By the time the First World War had broken out my Grandmother and her family had moved to mid Shropshire, I suspect that she wrote the letter out after the War as the address on the inside of the note book did not become the family home until 1919. I do not appear to have any photos of the Phillips family but my Grandmother, or her Mother, kept in touch with them after the move from Malpas.

     Hopefully I have managed to attach the images of the three pages copied out by my Grandmother.

     Rod.

Letter written by W Arthur Phillips to his Parents 2nd July 1916 copied by Gran p 1_11072022.jpg

Letter written by W Arthur Phillips to his Parents 2nd July 1916 copied by Gran p 2_11072022.jpg

Letter written by W Arthur Phillips to his Parents 2nd July 1916 copied by Gran p 3_11072022.jpg

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