2nd Lieutenant, Philip Amyas Vaile (22) – Accidentally Killed

‘B’ Company, 2nd/19th London Regiment, 14th October 1916

Philip Amyas Vaile

Military and Civilian Research

Having been wounded twice and accidentally burnt since the start of the war, being sent behind the lines to train troops would have been seen as a welcome break from the hell of the Western Front. For 2nd Lieutenant Vaile it was to prove a posting too far as he was killed on 14 October 1916 in a training accident.

Philip Amyas Vaile was born on 27 July 1894 in Marylebone, London. He attended Brighton college (Chichester House) between 1907 – 1911 and joined the Officers’ Training Corps while he was there. On leaving the school he joined the Honourable Artillery Company as a Private, No.720, on 14 October 1912. The latter’s records state that his height on joining the Honourable Artillery Company was 5’ 8”.

Honourable Artillery Company Cap Badge, similar to the one which would have been worn by Philip Vaile.

When war came he went with his regiment to France, disembarking on 18 September 1914. He was slightly wounded in the Battle of Hooge and later was to suffer from accidental burns. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 2/19 London Regiment on 24 September 1915 but the good news was sadly tempered shortly afterwards when news came that his brother Edward had been killed in action whilst serving with the Worcester Regiment.

The London Regiment were based in the UK when Philip joined them, but departed for France aboard the “King Edward” which departed Southampton  on 23 June and disembarking in Le Havre the next day. The Battalion went into trenches at Acq on 6 July. On 21 July the Regiment were at rest billets at Bois des Alleux. The war diary for that day records:

“Company parades, including short route marches. During bombing practice 2nd Lieutenant Vaile was wounded by a fragment of a Mills Grenade on the bridge of the nose. Wound slight but necessitated treatment in hospital”.

Philip rejoined his regiment a few weeks later and was involved in heavy fighting. On 12 October 1916 he wrote stating that he had been given a new appointment in consideration of his having served at the front longer than anyone in his regiment.

Death

Philip’s new appointment was at the central training school in Le Havre serving as an instructor.  On 14 October 1916 he was training Canadian troops in the art of throwing live hand grenades.  It’s likely he would have been using a Mills Bomb No. 5 which could either be fitted with a percussion or time delay fuse of around four seconds. According to witnesses when it came to Private John Henry Willis’ turn,  the bomb exploded almost on the instant of leaving his hand. Philip was killed instantly, being hit by shrapnel in the head and heart, two other men were wounded and Private Willis was mortally wounded in the head.

Both Philip and Private Willis are buried in Ste. Marie Cemetery in Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France.

Mills Bomb No 5 hand grenade, 1915
[Image number: 104592] – © National Army Museum

Family

His family is shown as follows :-

  • Father – Philip Vaile, born c.1859 at Islington, died 1935.
  • Mother – Amy Flora Gilbert or Vaile, born c.1862 at High Wycombe, Bucks.
  • Brother -Thomas Burdock, born 14 December 1888 at Essex, died 1968.
  • Brother – Edward Ernest, born c.1892 at Essex, died 5 October 1915.
  • Brother – Frederick R., born, c.1900 at Marylebone, Regent’s Park.
  • Sister – Amy Rebecca, born c.1907.

Addresses

  • The 1901 Census gives his address as 10, Ormonde Terrace, St Marylebone, London.
  • The 1911 Census gives his address as Brighton College,  Eastern Road, Brighton, Sussex.

Medals

Philip Amyas Vaile was awarded the 1914 Star and Clasp, Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.

Memorials

Philip Amyas Vaile is honoured and remembered on the St Stephen the Martyr War Memorial, Avenue Road, London, and Brighton College War Memorial.

Links to Additional Information

References

  •  1901 England, Wales & Scotland Census.
  •  1911 Census for England and Wales .
  •  Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  • Supplement to the London Gazette : 2 October 1915 Page 9733.
  • Medal Index Cards: 1914-1920.
  • National Archives: 2/19 Battalion London Regiment WO 95/3031/6.
  • www.brightoncollegeremembers.com.
  • Marylebone Mercury Newspaper published 21 October 1916.

Contributors:-

  • Trevor Torkington
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