No.12431, Corporal, William PHILLIPS
Aged 27

1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
formerly No. 54431, Royal Garrison Artillery
Killed in Action on Monday, 9th April 1917

William Phillips was born in Ousden on 21st May 1889, (Newmarket Q3-1889 3B:531 ), baptised in St Peter's, Ousden on 18th August 1889, son of William and Kate PHILLIPS (née SANDERS).

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at Mill Lane, Ousden with his father William PHILLIPS [30] labourer, born Kedington; his mother Kate [31] born Horringer and sister Amelia [4] born Ousden.

1901 census...Aged 12, he was at Front Street,Ousden with his parents (father now a horsekeeper, sisters Amelia, Nora [9] and Gertrude [5] and brother Patrick [11 months]. All the children were born in Ousden.

1911 census...Aged 21, he was an assistant game keeper, at Back Street, Ousden, with his mother and brother Patrick. His father has not been found. The census shows his mother as married and no appropriate death has been found for William Phillips senior. His brother Patrick served in the war and survived until 1977

On 12th August 1911 he married Rose E WEBB [2-8-1893], who later remarried to Clement James HUDSON in 1920 and lived at Barrow Green, Suffolk. They had 4 children; Muriel Amelia [4-2-1912-2008], Gerald William [28-3-1913-1999], Ernest George [13-2-1914- 6-5-1918] and William Jack [26-7-1917-1999]

On the pension card they were living at Ruses Square, Exning Road, Newmarket.

His grandson relates how the family was struck by ill fortune. Despite William's sacrifice, his own father William Phillips died in 1918 in Newmarket workhouse. His widow Rose must have had very difficult war years, her father (Solomon) died 1915, William 1917, her mother (Rhoda) 1917 and her son Ernest (known as Ernie) 1918. For some, these were not the good old days.

William - centre - back photo:- courtesy grandson Bruce.

He enlisted in Newmarket.
They were on the eastern edge of Arras...From the war diary:-
06:45 Moved off with 2nd Seaforth Highlanders in lead, Household Battalion in rear route via ??.
09:05 Battalion reached assembly area, shovels and picks and two sandbags per man issued. Dinners issued.
12:20 Battalion working and carrying parties moved off for their various rendezvous.
13:30 Battalion Headquarters moved off and proceeded to BLUE Line next 12 Brigade track.
16:30 Battalion Headquarters arrived Blue Line.
07:00 Black Line taken
11:30 Blue Line taken. Large numbers of German prisoners coming in.
16:00 Brown Line captured and consolidated. Prisoners still coming in. 12 Brigade headquarters are 100 yards N of ours. Advance troops hold a line just E of Fampoux. cold day, snow.
. Very cold night still some snow.

The 1st Battalion only lost three men in this foray. Further south, on the Somme, the 2nd/7th lost 19.

photo: Rodney Gibson

photo:Rodney Gibson

William Phillips is buried in St Nicholas British Cemetery, grave 1:D:19
and also commemorated on the Barrow war memorial.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details