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  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking the grave, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
Person Details
17 Feb 1882
Retford Nottinghamshire
Arthur was the son of George and Ann Phillipson (née Holland). His father was born in Barneby le Wolds, Lincolnshire, and his mother in Thrumpton, Ordsall, in 1851, the daughter of John and Sarah Holland. They were married at Ordsall All Hallows on 26 July 1874 and had nine children of whom only six were living in 1911. Eight children have been traced, including twins, all of whom were born in Retford: Eliza b. 1874; Emma b. 1876; Kate b. 1878 d. 1904 and Mary b. 1878 d. 1879; George Reginald b. 1879; Arthur b. 17 February 1882; Herbert b. 1883 and Mabel b. 1890. In 1881 George, a railway engine driver, and Ann were living on Thrumpton Lane, Ordsall, with their four surviving children Eliza (6), Emma (4), Kate (3) and George (2). George, a labourer, and Ann had moved to Richard Street, Ordsall, by 1891. They now had seven children: Eliza, Emma, Kate, George, Arthur (8), Herbert (7) and Mabel (1). The family was still living at 1 Richard Street in 1901. George was working as a caseman at the Northern Rubber Works. Five of their seven children were in the home on the night of the census: Eliza a general domestic servant, Kate a dressmaker's assistant, Arthur a milk seller, Herbert a railway engine cleaner and Mabel. Kate died three years later in 1904. George has not yet been traced on the census but Emma was living in Stretford, Manchester, and recorded as Emma Scott, the wife of Hugh Scott (42), an India rubber agent. The 1911 census records that they had been married for 14 years (c.1897) although their marriage did not appear to take place until 1905 (reg. Prestwich, Lancs). By 1911 George, now retired, and Ann had moved to 7 Richard Street. Only Arthur (29) working as a cutter with Northern Rubber Works, and Mabel, a draper's assistant, were still living at home. Of their four other children, Eliza had moved to Stretford, Manchester, where she was assisting her sister Emma Scott with her family - she had had eleven children of whom only seven had survived. Emma was described on the census as married but her husband was not in the home on the night of the census; he died in 1911 (A/M/J Brampton Cumberland). George, who worked for Northern Rubber Works, had married Clara Scott in 1903 and they were living on Grove Lane, Retford, with their two children, George and Charles. Herbert, a railway engine stoker, had married Clarissa Calam in 1905 and they were living at 6 Richard Street with their two sons, Herbert and John. Arthur's parents completed a form for the Army in May 1919 listing their son's surviving blood relatives: Parents: George & Ann, 1 Richard Street Brothers: George Reginald (40) 33 Grove Lane Retford; Herbert (35) 5 Richard Street Sisters: Eliza Phillipson (45) and Emma Scott (43) 68 Park Road Stretford Manchester; Mabel Phillipson (29) 1 Richard Street George snr. died on 6 January 1920; he was still living at 1 Richard Street. His widow Ann probably died in 1934. Arthur's brother, George Reginald, also served in the war. Like Arthur, he had served in the 4th Bn (Vol. Bn) Notts & Derbys Regiment before the war, joining on 22 February 1897 and then transferring to the Territorial Force in April 1908. However, he enlisted on 24 January 1900 on a short service engagement (one year with the Colours) to serve in South Africa from 23 February to 28 April 1901. He was discharged on 29 April 1901 on his return to the UK and rejoined the Territorial Force. He served in France from 2 March 1915 to 23 August the same year, then at home from 24 August until his discharge on 1 October 1915 on the expiration of his term of service.
Member of St Alban's church, Ordsall. 1901 - a milk seller. 1911 - employed by Northern Rubber Works
08 Aug 1915
477928 - CWGC Website
Attested in the Territorial Force in 1908 (Retford), residence 1 Richard Street Retford
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) Arthur enlisted in the Territorial Force (4th Bn Notts & Derby Regiment) on 14 April 1908. He was promoted sergeant on 31 July 1910. He joined the 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters on embodied service, 5 August 1914 and served with the BEF France from 2 March 1915. He was admitted to the 1st NM Field Ambulance suffering from rheumatism on 2 April 1915, rejoining for duty on 10 April. Arthur and three others, Privates Ernest King, Percy Scott and Albert Edward Smith, were killed by shell fire on 8 August 1915. (See records on this Roll of Honour) He is buried in Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, Belgium (grave ref. II.E.38). The history of the Cemetery indicates that Arthur's grave was brought in after the Armistice. He qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. CWGC - History of Sanctuary Wood Cemetery (extract): 'Sanctuary Wood Cemetery is located 5 Kms east of Ieper [Ypres]. Sanctuary Wood is one of the larger woods in the commune of Zillebeke. It was named in November 1914, when it was used to screen troops behind the front line. It was the scene of fighting in September 1915 and was the centre of the Battle of Mount Sorrel (2-13 June 1916) involving the 1st and 3rd Canadian Divisions. There were three Commonwealth cemeteries at Sanctuary Wood before June 1916, all made in May-August 1915. The first two were on the western end of the wood, the third in a clearing further east. All were practically obliterated in the Battle of Mount Sorrel, but traces of the second were found and it became the nucleus of the present Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. At the Armistice, the cemetery contained 137 graves. From 1927 to 1932, Plots II-V were added and the cemetery extended as far as 'Maple Avenue', when graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields. They came mainly from the communes immediately surrounding Ypres, but a few were taken from Nieuport (on the coast) and the following smaller cemeteries [listed].'
'The Sherwood Foresters in the Great War 1914-1919, 1/8th Battalion', p71 ('The Salient') 1915: 'Included amongst the killed were Sergt. A Phillipson, who throughout had shown the utmost coolness and gallantry.' Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 10 August 1915: ‘Lieut. ECA James, of the 8th Sherwood Foresters says:- I have received the three parcels containing 3,500 Gold Flake cigarettes, I handed them to Sergt. Phillipson for distribution amongst the Retford men. Will you please convey my thanks to the Association for their kindness and to the donor of the money … I am very sorry to say we have lost another Retford man in Pte Tinker [16 July 1916], who only came out with the last draft.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) George Wm Tinker - see record on this Roll of Honour Worksop Guardian 20 August 1915 - 'Four Territorials killed by shell fire' 'News has reached Retford of the death at the front of four of the Territorials, killed by one shell whilst serving in the trenches. Of the four the best known is Sergt. Arthur Phillipson, younger son of Mr and Mrs Phillipson, of Richard Street, Newtown, joined the Retford Volunteers about 10 years ago and remained in the company after it transferred to the Territorial Association. He was an excellent soldier, being very keen in learning his duties, and he soon rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was also a very good shot, and his advice on the rifle and all matters appertaining to the duties of a soldiers was always readily given. His death has come as a painful shock to his parents, for he was an exceptionally loyal and dutiful son. He was closely associated with St Alban’s Church which he regularly attends. A short time ago we recorded with pleasure a tribute from his platoon commander after a singularly brave deed performed in the trenches. The Lieutenant wrote that he was proud to have such a Sergeant under his command. 'Sergt. Phillipson was killed, together with Lce-Corpl Scott and Ptes King and Smith by a shell during the recent heavy fighting when several German trenches were captured. He had been employed at the Rubber Works for many years and was highly respected by everyone for his quiet and gentlemanly disposition. 'Lce-Corpl Scott (20) whose parents reside nearly opposite those of Sergt Phillipson, who was another of the victims, was formerly employed at Messrs. Jenkin’s Beehive Works. The news of his death is conveyed in a letter from Pte Farrand as follows:- “I am writing to you with deep regret to inform you that poor Percy was killed this morning (Monday) along with three more lads by a shell. Two battalions on the left of our Company were to make an attack at dawn and after an hour’s bombardment of the Germans, they did so and our Company had to file into the trenches they had left, so we came in for a good deal of shell fire. It was while we were holding this trench that Percy and the three lads were killed. I was in the next bay and got a good shaking but nothing more. We are all sorry to lose him, for he was very much liked by all in the platoon. He was a capable NCO and we were the only two from Retford in his section, so I shall miss him very much.” 'Pte King was the only son of Mr Ambrose King. Dominie Cross Road, and also formerly employed Messrs. Jenkin’s Beehive Works. He had been in the Territorials three years and was 21 years of age. 'Private Albert Smith attended the first camp with the Terriers just before war broke out. News of his death has been received from Pte Sly, his chum in the trenches. Deceased was formerly employed as a moulder, at Messrs. Jenkin’s. His parents reside in Alma Road.' Retford Times 20 August 1915 - 'Sergt Arthur Phillipson' 'Sergt Arthur Phillipson who was 32 years of age, was the second son of Mr and Mrs George Phillipson, Richard Street, Newtown, Retford. He joined the old Retford Volunteer Company in 1905, and by dint of perseverance in his duties, rose to the rank of sergeant. He was of a quiet and general disposition, and took great interest in his work. He was very popular with the men, and his parents, with whom he lived, have lost one of the best sons. Col-Sergt G Phillipson, brother of the deceased, had the painful duty of forwarding the sad news to his parents, who are suffering from the terrible shock which has overcome them. The deceased soldier was educated at the Thrumpton schools and was first employed in the gardens at the Elms, resident of Ald J W Holmes. Then he became an employee of the Northern Rubber Works and was held in the greatest respect and esteem by his fellow workmen. It will be remembered that a short time ago his platoon commander paid a tribute of praise to him for a brave deed performed on the trenches. Lieut James, in the course of a letter, said he was proud to have such a sergeant under him. A little girl who was a great admirer of Sergt Phillipson, made a number of small articles and with the money derived from the sale of them, spent it in writing material for distribution amongst the Retford men in Sergt Phillipson’s company. A letter recently received from him and signed “your soldier friend,” stated that, “ the men are very pleased with the writing paper, envelopes and pencils. They desire me to thank you very much in deed, and you can rest assured they appreciate your kindness. I myself are proud of you, seeing that you are so young and working on our behalf. I am sending you a few postcards which I hope you will like. We are having lovely weather here and if it was not for this terrible war, I should be enjoying myself. I am looking forward to coming home. I hope it will not be long.' Ordsall St Alban's parish magazine, June 1915: 'Congratulations to ... Sergeant A Phillipson for distinguished conduct in the field.' September 1915: 'Honour to the Fallen. John Rossington, Percy Scott, Ernest King, Arthur Phillipson, JD Hilton, have been killed in France or Belgium. Frank Stockdale was drowned in the Aegian Sea when the King Edward transport was torpedoed. Percy Scott, Ernest King, Frank Stockdale and Arthur Phillipson were regular in their attendance at St Alban’s church and were among the most promising of our younger churchmen. Of such soldiers we had great hopes that they would exercise a strong influence for good on other lads in the years to come. All too soon they have fallen, leaving a wide gap in the ranks at home and we pray that their friends and relations may be comforted in their grief and that other lads seeing what has been done will follow their example in self-sacrifice and manly courage.' (Retford Local Studies Library, ref 942.52 ORD). Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 7 September 1915: Home From the Front. Interview with Sergt. D Canner [‘H’ Coy Sherwood Foresters] … Most of our casualties have been from trench mortars, and the men we most miss are Sergt. Phillipson and Cecil Land, who were both very popular.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Cecil Land - see record on this Roll of Honour Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 7 September 1915. Report on Retford Women’s War Fund and the letters of thanks it has received including: ‘I believe Mr James usually thanks the Retford Women’s War Fund for the their gift of socks, shirts, etc. Unfortunately Mr James has had to be admitted to hospital suffering from rheumatism … Sergt. A Phillipson had a list compiled of Retford men in the battalion, but alas! as you are only too fully aware, he has given his life for his country. His loss is a very great one – such men are not found everyday and he was more than a soldier … FA Pritchard, Company Quarter-master-Sergeant (R&W Co.).’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 14 September 1915 (extract): ‘Honour to the Fallen. John Rossington, Percy Scott, Ernest King, Arthur Phillipson and JD Hilton have been killed in France or Belgium, and Frank Stockdale was drowned in the Aegean Sea when the King Edward transport was torpedoed. Percy Scott, Ernest King, Frank Stockdale and Arthur Phillipson, were regular in their attendance at S. Alban’s Church, and were among the most promising of our younger Churchmen … Ordsall Parish Magazine.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 21 September 1915: ‘Corpl White of the 10th Sherwood Foresters, writes: We are again under fire after having three days’ rest. We are in the wood where Sergt. Phillipson and two or three more Retford lads are buried. I pass their graves every morning. There is a very nice cross on Sergt. Phillipson’s grave. I expect you have heard of Pte W Davison being killed ...’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Pte W Davison - see record on this Roll of Honour. Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his mother Ann was his sole legatee.
Remembered on


  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking the grave, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Arthur Phillipson - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking the grave, Sanctuary Wood Cemetery Belgium. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle