Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Samuel Phillips

Samuel Phillips :

Samuel Phillips : Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Samuel was born in around October 1901 in Bridgwater, Somerset. He was named after his father and his mother was called Caroline. He had 5 older siblings; Louisa, Selina, Emily, John and Victor, and a younger brother called Leslie. The family had lost 5 other children by 1911. One of them was called Dorothy.

In April 1901 Samuel senior was self-employed as a 'fish and potato hawker'. The family lived at the Cock Inn on St Matthew's Field in Bridgwater. Ten years later they had moved to 103 Albert Street in the town. Samuel senior was now a labourer for a shipping firm. Samuel junior was still at school. Louisa had married and moved to Ystrad in the Rhondda Valley of South Wales.

By mid 1920 Samuel was living in South Wales and working as a coal miner. His brother Victor was his next of kin, which suggests his parents were both dead. Victor lived at 24 River Street in Ystrad.

On the 28th June Samuel travelled to Cardiff and joined the Army. He chose the Manchester Regiment and was given the service number 90322. This was soon changed to 3514217.

We don't know anything about Samuel's early career. During this period the 1st Battalion was based in the UK, and the 2nd Battalion was serving in India and Burma.

On the 2nd August 1929 Samuel left his battalion and was posted to the Regimental Depot at Ladysmith Barracks in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. This was where he had carried out his basic training.

Samuel married Helen Gossan in Ashton on the 29th August 1931. She had grown up in the town. They had 2 daughters, Ann T. between July and September 1932 and Mary C. between April and June 1934. They were both born in Ashton.

On the 23rd January 1933 Samuel was promoted to Lance Corporal. He would hold this rank for over 4 years. As of the 15th March 1937 he was serving with the 2nd Battalion at Strensall in Yorkshire.

The battalion moved to Aldershot in March 1938. Towards the end of this year Samuel was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for 18 years of Army service.

The battalion was still in Aldershot when the Second World War broke out on the 3rd September 1939. They were sent to France on the 22nd September and prepared to defend against a German invasion. We don't know whether Samuel went with them.

The Germans invaded France and Belgium on the 10th May 1940. Despite the best efforts of British and French forces they were quickly overwhelmed and forced back to the Channel coast. Between the 27th May and the 4th June most of the British forces were evacuated from the town of Dunkirk.

After Dunkirk the British Army quickly reorganised itself. Men of the 2nd Battalion had been scattered all over England, but by the 25th June they had come together in Lincolnshire.

Samuel left the Manchester Regiment on the 4th July 1940. He was transferred to the newly-formed 8th Battalion of The Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) at Coed Helen Camp near Caernarfon in North Wales. This unit served in the UK until November 1941 when it was converted into the 93rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

Light Anti-Aircraft Regiments used the Quick Firing 40 mm Mark III, known as the Bofors gun, to protect ground forces from air attack. Samuel served with this unit in the UK until the 6th December 1942. On this day he was discharged for 'ceasing to fulfil Army physical requirements' and returned to civilian life.

The rest of Samuel's life is a mystery. Helen died in Ashton between October and December 1952 aged 44. Samuel was 55 when he died there between October and December 1955.

Samuel's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in March 1992. He is likely to have received other medals for his service during the Second World War, but we can't be sure which.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council