Arthur Blakeway Phillips was born on 15th August 1883, in Hanwood, Shropshire, one of seven children to Richard Blakeway Phillips and Isabel Mary Phillips [née Hall]. Arthur’s father was a master flour miller by trade.

After his education at Wellington1, around the turn of the century, Arthur moved to Huddersfield in Yorkshire where he became a Bank Cashier, and where he remained until the start of his military service.

In July 1915 Arthur came down to London where he enlisted as a private soldier [No 4679] with the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps [OTC] completing his attestation papers2 at Lincolns Inn on 15th July. Whilst with the OTC he spent time near Berkhamsted and Roehampton. It was during this period that he decided to make an application for a temporary commission in The London Regiment. However, in order for this to succeed he needed the recommendation of the Deputy Lieutenant for the County of London, Lord Esher, and this was forthcoming in early November 1915.

On 11th November 1915 Arthur was discharged to a commission with the 3/12th Battalion, The London Regiment3, taking up his appointment the following day. This Regiment, founded in 1908, was unusual in that as well as being part of the Territorial Force, each of its eighty-eight Battalions were considered a Corps in their own right.

Shortly after New Year 1916 Arthur left for France to join 1/12th (County of London) Battalion (The Rangers), The London Regiment who had been there since December 1914.

At some point in the early Spring of 1916 Arthur had been hospitalised for reasons which remain unclear; the Battalion had not been engaged in any enemy activity so this might have been due to some accident or non-war related illness. When he re-joined his battalion on 11th May 1916 they were based in St AMAND taking part in ongoing training, bayonet fighting, bomb throwing, sniping and the use of gas.

By the end of the first week of June the Battalion had arrived in the trenches at HEBUTERNE where they were taking light casualties through random sniping etc, moving onto SOUASTRE by first light on 15th June 1916 where the men made up various working parties along the line.

On Monday 19th June 1916 Second-Lieutenant Arthur Blakeway Phillips, 1/12th (County of London) Battalion (The Rangers), The London Regiment, was killed in action 15 miles south west of Arras as a result of ballistic trauma, most likely the result of a sniper. He lies buried in Hebuterne Military Cemetery, France and was aged 32. In addition to his own death three of his men were also killed, with four wounded, one later dying.

The London Regiment was disbanded shortly before WW2 in 1938. It was raised again in 1993 and today forms part of the Army Reserve within the Household Division alongside its regular counterparts of the Household Cavalry and the five regiments of Foot Guards.

1. Contemporaries from his time at Wellington at the time of the 1901 census and who died in the War can be found in Appendix 1.
2. The attestation paper was a personal information form that volunteers completed during the enlistment process within the Territorial Force throughout the First World War.
3. 49 Battalions served in the trenches of the Western Front, 6 Battalions saw action at Gallipoli, 12 Battalions at Salonika, 14 fought against the Turks in Palestine, and 1 Battalion fought in Afghanistan and Waziristan with the remainder being home depot training units.

See also the Imperial War Museum permanent digital memorial to the ‘Lives of the First World War’ for AB Phillips.