Phillips, George (1899-1918)

The younger brother of Joseph Phillips, George was also born in Strood, probably on 14 March 1899.  [For details of the rest of the family in 1901, see Joseph Phillips].

In the 1901 Census George was recorded as being two years of age and in 1911 his age was given as eleven.  The family had three other relatives living with them at the time: a married couple in their later forties and early fifties and a young man aged nineteen.  It seems likely that George’s older brothers had all moved out and two of them were married (not including Joe).  His two older sisters were also married and two more girls had been born since the previous census.  Presumably George was at school (he has no occupation recorded) but some other male family members were working as cement factory labourers.

In September 1915, less than twenty weeks after his older brother Joe’s death at Gallipoli, George volunteered for the Royal West Kent regiment.  A medical officer at the Chatham recruiting office noted that he was five feet, three and a half inches tall and weighed 115 lbs.  George had brown eyes and hair with a dark complexion and his faith was recorded as ‘Church of England’. He worked as a ‘general labourer.  His ‘apparent age’, according to the form filled in by the medical officer, was eighteen years and six months: in fact he was 2 years younger than that, and not old enough to serve in the army.  The authorities must have found out his real age as on 30th November he was discharged from the army due to a ‘misstatement as to age’.

Obviously George returned to the army as a private once he was old enough, and he served with the Queen’s Own Royal West Surrey regiment in France.  He died aged nineteen on 19 June 1918 and is buried in the Harponville Communal Cemetery extension in the Somme. sources:

Census 1901: Class: RG13; Piece: 720; Folio: 129; Page: 8

Class: RG14; Piece: 3871; Schedule Number: 123  1911 England Census

WO364; Piece: 2962  British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920 [database on-line].