1914 - Philip Giddings WW1

Phillip was the eldest son of Henry and Louisa Giddings born at Avington in Berkshire at the beginning of 1897, the family came to live at Huish between 1909 and 1910.The 1911 census shows Phillip working as a Plough Boy at the farm aged 14yrs.

Philip Giddings of Huish

The exact date when Phillip volunteered is not known but it must have been at the beginning of the war as he was later awarded the 1914-15 Star.  No service records exist because they were destroyed by fire during the Blitz, so there is no record of his occupation at the time or whether he was still living at home, his enlistment place is given as Devizes.

He was enrolled as a Private in the 1st Battalion of the (Duke of Edinburgh) Wiltshire Regiment, service number 19233.

Before the commencement of the Somme Campaign in the summer of 1916 an 8-10 day artillery bombardment took place, which was intended to destroy the enemy barbed wire giving access to the German trenches and to demoralize the Germans so that resistance would be minimal.  In the event this did not happen, the barbed wire was not destroyed except for isolated gaps and the Germans had well built dugouts up to 30feet deep.

At 7p.m on the night of the 5th July the Wilts attacked about 500 yards of the main German trench of the Leipzig Redoubt, after an intense bombardment by artillery and trench mortars C and D Coys went forward and A and B Coys were in support .C Coy was successful but D Coy gained only part of their objective owing to heavy machine gun fire. At 1.15a.m on the 6th the enemy commenced a very heavy bombing attack on the captured trench but were successfully beaten off.  It is assumed Phillip was killed sometime during these attacks, he was buried in a temporary grave but his remains were later exhumed and his body rests at No 2 Cemetery Serre Road the largest of the Somme cemeteries holding 7,000 men.

Phillip was just 19 years old when he died he was posthumously awarded the 1914-15 Star and the Victory and British War medal his father was sent his soldiers effects of £1 12s 3d.

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