MARCH-PHILLIPS, Spencer Lisle

Second Lieutenant, "A" Bn., Tank Corps

Born

31st August 1894.
Son of Hugh March-Phillips (OB) of Kenn, West Exeter, Devon

Education

Blundell's School, a “Day Boy” and at “Old House” from 1906 to 1911. He served in the OTC.

Career

In 1912 he went to Canada where he worked as a clerk.

Service

On the outbreak of war, he went to Victoria where he attested on December 8th 1914. He joined the British Columbia Horse, afterwards the 2nd Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles (Second Canadian Mounted Rifles) as 130290 Private March-Phillips. He went to the front in August 1915 and served for nine months, when he came home and took a commission in the Machine Gun Corps. He went to France with the Tank Corps in July 1917.

Personal Details

At attestation in Canada, he was described to be 20 years old, 5’11” tall with a 37½” chest, fair complexion, blue eyes, light brown hair. He had a scar on his forehead over his left eye and was a member of the Church of England.

The Offensive

Sir Douglas Haig described the object of the Cambrai operations as the gaining of a 'local success by a sudden attack at a point where the enemy did not expect it' and to some extent they succeeded. The proposed method of assault was new, with no preliminary artillery bombardment. Instead, tanks would be used to break through the German wire, with the infantry following under the cover of smoke barrages. The attack began early in the morning of 20 November 1917 and initial advances were remarkable. However, by 29 November, it was clear that the Germans were ready for a major counter attack. During the fierce fighting of the next five days, much of the ground gained in the initial days of the attack was lost.

Death

20th November 1917, aged 23.
He was killed in the advance on Cambrai, while attempting to cut wire from his tank.

Burial/Commemoration

Spencer March-Phillips has no known grave so is commemorated on Panel 13 of Cambrai Memorial which stands on a terrace at one end of Louverval Military Cemetery, Nord, France.

Memorial

Louverval is on the north side of the N30, Bapaume to Cambrai road, 13 kilometres north-east of Bapaume and 16 kilometres south-west of Cambrai. The Memorial stands on a terrace in Louverval Military Cemetery, which is situated on the north side of the N30, south of Louverval village.
The Cambrai Memorial commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and whose graves are not known. The Memorial was designed by H. Chalton Bradshaw with sculpture by C S Jagger.

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
Canadian Archives - www.collectionscanada.ca - March Phillips RG150 1992-93/166 Box 5912-44
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5115
Blundellian, 1917
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission 26/612

 

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