• A
  • A
  • A
Lewis Henry Phillips diary

Transcription and introduction by Patricia Hasenson (née Phillips) and Alec Hasenson.

Lewis Henry Phillips matriculated at Haberdashers Aske’s Hampstead School in June 1913. Whilst there he served in the School Cadet Corps, reaching the rank of Sergeant. Subsequently he went to Imperial College, London, to study chemistry, at the same time becoming a member of the University of London Officer Training Corps. He was accepted into the Army in October 1915 and after basic training was recommended for a commission in January 1916. On the 1st of that month he was made 2nd Lt. 183 Brigade, RFA, when just 19 years old. A few months later he was sent to France, only to suffer an injury 2 1/2 months later when his horse fell on him injuring his hip and back. Lewis was hospitalized and declared unfit for service until the following year, when he was again sent to France towards the end of April 1917, this time to 190 Brigade, RFA.

The portions of the diary we have discovered actually begin on 13 June1916, just as Lt. Lewis Henry Phillips is about to set sail for France for the first time. There is no detailed record yet discovered as to what he did before then. All we have for that period are his Army Records from the Public Records Office at Kew, which merely give dates. As from June 1916 however we have Lewis’s diaries, and these give us the human side of the war that underlies the dryness of the official dates.

When transcribing these diaries Pat and I have tried to keep as near to Lewis’s original words as possible, but inevitably in the stress of war and the frontline, these are not always a model of grammar and literature. Where we felt it necessary we have made minor changes to spelling and grammar and also clarified, in brackets, various abbreviations and acronyms. For the convenience of the reader, we have also added the day of the week and the actual year to each one of Lewis’s daily jottings, so that his simple ‘July 4’, for instance, would now read as ‘Tuesday 4 July, 1916, provided the year was appropriate for that particular date. 

Give us your feedback

Please tell us what you think to help us develop and progress this vital resource

London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

Follow us on social media:

© London Jewish Cultural Centre 2018

Website : beachshore