Eric Sutherland Phillips was born in Stamford Hill, London in 1894. His father was James Alexander Phillips from Glasgow and Elizabeth Sutherland, born in Edinburgh. They married in Greenwich RD, 1892. James was an electrical engineer, in his obituary it states that he installed the electric lighting at Balmoral Castle.
Eric was the eldest of four sons and in 1901 the family were living at 55 Esmond Road, Acton.
In March 1899 James had moved to Rugby to work for the British Thomson-Houston Company. By 1911 the family were living at 22 Bilton Road (Gilshaw Lodge). Eric was aged 16 and an engineering student.
Eric Sutherland Phillips enlisted in the Oxon and Bucks L.I. in September, 1914. He was given a commission in the 8th Battalion Border Regiment in November, 1914. He went to France in September, 1915 and was promoted Lieutenant in November, 1915. After being in several actions on the Somme, he was invalided home in September, 1916.
He rejoined his regiment on November 30th, 1916, and was promoted to Captain in December.
He died on February 21st, aged 22 years.
His Colonel wrote:
“He was a most excellent young officer, always willing and cheerful. During the time when he was in charge of the Machine Gun Detachment of the Battalion he did very good work. He was very plucky under fire, and a very good leader. We shall all miss a cheery plucky comrade, and a great favourite in the Battalion.”
(Rugby Advertiser 3 Mar 1917)
He was buried at Pont-de-Nieppe Cemetery, near Armentières
The following words, requested by his family, were engraved on his headstone:
“These laid the world away / poured out / the red sweet wine of youth”
Unusually, no religious symbol was included.
By this time, the family had moved to York House, Clarendon Place, Leamington Spa. James Alexander Phillips died there on 23rd Sep 1923.
Of his other sons, Capt L K (Leslie Kirkwood) Phillips was wounded twice in the war and Lt K M (Kenneth McNair) Phillips was taken prisoner.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM