Rank Second Lieutenant
Service No Unknown
Date of Death 22/03/1918
Age 20
Regiment/Service Tank Corps "A" Company 2nd Battalion.
Memorial Poziers Memorial, France. The memorial is 6 kms north-east of Albert. It relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918 and its aftermath when the Allied 5th Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the Somme battlefields. It commemorates over 14,000 British and 300 South African casualties who have no known grave and died between 21st March and 7th August 1918.

 

Philip was born in January 1898. His parents were Percy Holland (b.1867) and Phoebe Emmeline Bissill Chambers (1867-1945) and he had one sibling, Katherine E. (b.1896). 

Philip was baptised at Holy Trinity East Finchley on 1st May 1898 and his address was 13 Station Road, Finchley. At the time of the 1901 Census, the family are listed as living at 95 Station Road, Finchley, and his father’s occupation is ‘solicitor’. At the time of the 1911 Census, the family are residing at the same address. By this time, Philip’s parents had been married for 16 years. Philip was confirmed by the Bishop of London at St-Mary-at-Finchley on 7th April 1914, aged 16, with his address still being 95, Station Road.

An examination of the monthly magazines of St Luke’s Finchley reveals that Philip’s father was a sidesman’s of the church, so it seems as if the family were members of the worshipping community.

Philip initially enlisted in the Army as a Private in the 28th London Regiment, He transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 30th January 1917 and then became a Second Lieutenant in the Tank Corps.

Tanks in the Great War 1914-1918 by J C Fuller (published 1920), gives details of the action in which Philip was killed:

"On March 22, an Advanced Tank Corps Headquarters was opened at Hamencourt, a mile east of Doullens, in order to facilitate the battle liaison duties of the staff. On this day a most successful and gallant action was fought by the 2nd Tank Battalion in the neighbourhood of Vaux Vraucourt and Morchies. At 2.45 p.m. orders were issued for the 2nd Tank Battalion to advance and counterattack the enemy, who had broken through the line Vaux Vraucourt-Morchies and was pushing forward towards Beugny.

Two companies of infantry were detailed to support the tanks, but as eventually these could not be spared the tanks went into action alone. The counter-attack began to develop around Beugny at about 4.30 p.m. Concentrated artillery fire was brought to bear on the tanks, but in spite of this they advanced amongst the enemy, put a field battery out of action, and by enfilading several trenches full of Germans inflicted heavy casualties on them. The enemy was eventually driven back behind the Vaux Vraucourt-Morchies position, which was then reoccupied by our infantry. Thirty tanks took part in this action; seventeen of these were hit and 70 per cent, of casualties suffered by their crews. Heavy though these losses were the enemy had suffered severely, and more important still his plan of action was upset."