Service Number 242243
Battalion 2nd Battalion
Regiment West Yorkshire Regiment
John Phillips was born on the 9th September 1881 in Collingham. His mother was Harriet Booker of Collingham. John appears on the 1891 census of Collingham living with Harriet Phillips, a widow, his brother George Richard, a sister, Martha H Harradine, her husband Herbert Harradine and their young son, Charles H Harradine. Interestingly John and George Richard are listed with the surname Booker, and John's birth was registered under the name John Phillips Booker.
Ten years earlier, in 1881, John's mother Harriet was living in Albert Place, Collingham with Martha and a lodger Richard Phillips. Harriet was at that time unmarried which perhaps explains John and George's name being listed as Booker in the 1891 census. Harriet and Richard married in Wetherby district in 1882. Richard Phillips died in 1901, but Harriet and family (now with the surname Phillips) continued to live in Collingham throughout their lives. In 1911 they were living at 4 Rider Place, Collingham. John was 29, single, and was a jobbing gardener.
On the 24th March 1916, John was called up for service and enlisted. On the 27th March he started his service with the 2/5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, transferring on the 11th July to the 16th Battalion. He embarked with the 2/6th Battalion on the 6th January 1917 and landed in France the next day.
Initially his posting would have been continued training for front line service, and John gained the displeasure of his superiors during this time, being awarded one day 'Field Punishment No. 2' for having a dirty bayonet at 6am morning parade on the 18th January.
John's front line service soon had him in action and on the 6th April 1917 he suffered a gun shot wound to his back. He was admitted on the 8th April 1917 to 96 CP Field Ambulance and then to number 36 Casualty Clearing Station. Two days later he was admitted to 47 General Hospital at Le Treport. This wound brought him in a few days to 3 Convalescence Hospital on the 14th April, and he was deemed fit for service again on the 18th - just 12 days after his initial wounding. However the wound may have been more serious because on the 1st May 1917 John may have been back in the UK.
John's service record is confused at this point but we believe he rejoined his unit on the 7th May 1917.
A few months later, on the 27th October 1917, John was admitted to the 3/1st West Riding Field Ambulance from where he was transferred to 109 Field Ambulance. A few days later (5th May) he was admitted to 41 Stationery Hospital in Gailly suffereing from mild pyrexia of unknown origin. His treatement meant he was then transferred to 42 Stationery Hospital on the 19th November and then to No. 6 General Hospital on the 26th November and he was repatriated to the UK on the Hospital ship Essquibo with pyrexia and Trench Fever. As John recovered he was posted to 5 Reserve Battalion West Yorkshire regiment on the 7th January 1918 and he went back to France on the 16th March 1918.
John was initially posted to the 1/7th Battalion, but on the 19th March he joined the 2nd Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment. He had a brief attachment to the works battalion of 8 Corps, before rejoining 2/West Yorkshires.
Then, on the 24th April 1918, John was reported as missing from the 2nd Battalion as he had been taken prisoner of war near Villers Bretoneaux
John was held as a POW in Germany until 17th November 1918 and on the 18th he was in hospital in France suffering from the effect of his captivity. He was admitted to the French Hospital from 42 Stationery Hospital at Courban and on the 22nd November to 12 (St Louis USA) General Hospital at Rouen with severe diarrohea. John's illness and his recent release from POW camp brought him back to the UK quickly on the 29th November and he was admitted to King George Hospital on Stamford Street in London. He remained in hospital for some time, being transferred for some of his recovery to Sheffield. His record suggests a general weakness following his captivity.
Finally, on the 21st March 1919, John was released from military service.
Biography last updated 21 January 2020 14:58:18.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 25962
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War British Army Service Records. The National Archives (WO363).
International Committee of the Red Cross Prisoner of War Records.
Pension Record Cards and Ledgers. Case number 4/M P/2271
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