Phillips, George Abraham

No.24730, Private, George Abraham PHILLIPS
Aged 28

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on or since 9th April 1918

George Abraham Phillips was born in Hargrave (1st qtr 1889 Thingoe 4a:699) son of Charles Joseph and Louisa PHILLIPS (née ARBON)

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at the Green, Hargrave with his father Charles PHILLIPS [43] carrier; his mother Louisa [36]; sisters Alice P.ARBON [11] and Ellen M PHILLIPS [5] and Kate M [4]. All were born in Hargrave

1901 census...Aged 12, he was at the Street, Hargrave with his parents, father now a farm labourer and mother recorded as born Chevington; sisters Maud (Ellen M ?)[16] and Laura [4]; brother Hubert [8]

1911 census...Aged 22, he was still in Hargrave with his parents; brother Hubert and sister Laura Louisa. All the males were farm labourers. His mother had lost 2 of her 8 children.

On the pension card his mother was in Hargrave

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds
Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" has:
In April 1918 the 11th Suffolks (often referred to as the "Cambridgeshires") were at La Rolanderie with the 12th Suffolks nearby at Fluerbaix. On the 9th the Germans opened an intensive barrage south of the Lille railway but no attack developed along the 34th Division front. 101st Brigade ( of which 11th Suffolks were part) set off as Corps Reserves to the south of Bac St Maur. An hour later news came that the Germans had broken through the Portuguese front and were entering the 40th Division zone.
With that, the 101st Brigade were ordered to cover the flank, but they found Bac St Maur occupied by the Germans and took up position facing west and south west near Fort Rompu and began fighting immediately. A strange occurrence, when the Corps Reserve were actually the first to engage the enemy. Terrific fighting followed and on the 10th the Suffolks formed a defensive flank, beating off attack after attack. Twice the Germans broke through and twice were thrown back. At 3:20 pm they were ordered to withdraw to behind the River Lys. The struggle continued until on the night of 17th/18th when they were relieved, moving back first into reserve trenches and three days later back to Boeschepe.

These battles of the Lys cost the battalion nearly 500 casualties, CWGC figures give 116 dead. 64 of these were on the 9th April. George was reported as missing on the 9th and later presumed dead, as were many of his comrades

photo Rodney Gibson

George Phillips is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium panel 3

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