Topic: Rifleman Colin Campbell Phillips

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War killed in action during the Somme battles.

Philips, C. C.

Rifleman Colin Campbell Phillips – 25/1107

Colin Phillips was born 1st December 1894 in Weddons, third son of William and Johanna Phillips of "Lochearn" Weedons. He was educated at the Weedon’s public school, and afterwards at the West Christchurch District High School. It was reported that when war was declared he took a keen interest in recruiting, and also in patriotic gatherings in the district. Before enlisting he was farming at Weddons for his father. He had previous military experience having served with the North Canterbury and Westland Regiment. He was 5ft 11 inches tall with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

He enlisted at Trentham on 14 October 1915 and was assigned to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.  He embarked on the Ulimaroa for Suez arriving 13 March 1916. He sailed for France on the Alaunia on 14th April 1916. He attended a week long Grenade School in the field on the 16th July, which presumably was in preparation for the September Offensive. He was killed in action aged 21 during the New Zealand Division action in the Battle for the Ancre Heights. His name is recorded on the Caterpillar Valley Memorial to the Missing, Somme. In New Zealand he is remembered on the Springston War Memorial.

Researched and written by L M Seaton. 

CWGC Cemetery loccale history:  Longueval is a village approximately 13 kilometres east of Albert and 10 kilometres south of Bapaume. The Memorial is situated on a terrace in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, which lies a short distance west of Longueval, on the south side of the road to Contalmaison. 

Caterpillar Valley was the name given by the army to the long valley which rises eastwards, past "Caterpillar Wood", to the high ground at Guillemont. The ground was captured, after very fierce fighting, in the latter part of July 1916. It was lost in the German advance of March 1918 and recovered by the 38th (Welsh) Division on 28 August 1918, when a little cemetery was made (now Plot 1 of this cemetery) containing 25 graves of the 38th Division and the 6th Dragoon Guards. After the Armistice, this cemetery was hugely increased when the graves of more than 5,500 officers and men were brought in from other small cemeteries, and the battlefields of the Somme. The great majority of these soldiers died in the autumn of 1916 and almost all the rest in August or September 1918.

CATERPILLAR VALLEY CEMETERY now contains 5,569 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. 3,796 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 32 casualties known or believed to be buried among them, and to three buried in McCormick's Post Cemetery whose graves were destroyed by shell fire.

On 6 November 2004, the remains of an unidentified New Zealand soldier were entrusted to New Zealand at a ceremony held at the Longueval Memorial, France. The remains had been exhumed by staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission from Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, France, Plot 14, Row A, Grave 27 and were later laid to rest within the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, at the National War Memorial, Wellington, New Zealand.
On the east side of the cemetery is the CATERPILLAR VALLEY (NEW ZEALAND) MEMORIAL, commemorating more than 1,200 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916, and whose graves are not known. This is one of seven memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known. The memorials are all in cemeteries chosen as appropriate to the fighting in which the men died. Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

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Rifleman Colin Campbell Phillips


First Names:Colin Campbell
Last Name:Phillips
Date of Birth:1 December 1894
Place of Birth:Weedons
Date of Death:1 Oct 1916
Place of Death:Somme, France
Memorial or Cemetery:Caterpillar Valley (NZ Memorial to the Missing
Age at death:21
User Name:L M Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:Farmer
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:24/12
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:14 Oct 1915
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of William and Johanna Phillips of "Lochearn," Weedons, Canterbury.
Service Number:25/1107
Rank last held:Rifleman
Embarkation:5 February 1916
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Ulimaroa or Mokoia or Navua
Theatres of War:Somme
Cause of Death:Killed in action
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Rifleman Colin Campbell Phillips by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License