The WALE family – Private WALE, Philip (1893-1917)

Philip was the third and youngest son of Frederick Wale (1852-1927), oilman and dry-salter, and Ada Esther Bowers (1871-1898).  As well as brothers Frederick Robert (1889-1968) and Sydney (1891-1928), Philip had an older half-sister Edith Mary (1882-1971).  His mother died in 1898 when Philip was just five and Philip was brought up by his father and stepmother Fanny nee Turner (c1862-1931), whom his father married in 1908.  The family lived (renting) at 15 Midland Street from at least 1891.  In 1885 the property was described in an advertisement in the Leicester Mercury as a “superior and well thought out dwelling” containing dining and drawing rooms, entrance hall, two kitchens, office, four bedrooms and two cellars, combined with “commodious and recently erected business premises”: Ground floor store room, 2 stall stable and two workshops. Philip attended Wyggeston Boys School. However, by 1911 and age 18 Philip lived elsewhere, probably in Peterborough.

Philip joined the Essex Regiment at Peterborough as a private soldier, at which time his address was Dogsthorpe Road, Peterborough.  After fighting at Gallipoli, Philip landed with his battalion, the 1/5th, on 17th December 1915.  On 28th Dec 1915 the battalion was sent to El Hamam, Egypt before moving eastwards to protect the Suez Canal.  February was spent crossing the Sinai Peninsula.  Philip then took part in the First Battle of Gaza on 26th March 1917.  Infantry and mounted infantry took part in heavy fighting against the Turks around the town of Gaza.  There were many casualties – Philip was one of them.  He was taken to Number 2 Australian Stationary Hospital, El Arish, Egypt, which acted as the principal clearing centre for the First Battle of Gaza, but died of his wounds on the 4th April 1917.  His grave is at Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.  Philip left effects of £4 13s 10d and a war gratuity of £9 10s was eventually awarded to father Frederick.  He is commemorated on the Roll of Honour at Peterborough Cathedral.

The Leicester Mercury printed Philip’s name in the daily Roll of Honour on 23rd April 1917:

DIED OF WOUNDS (Essex Regiment)  Wale, 250778 P (Leicester)

Frederick died 1927 living at The Cottage, Humberstone Drive and Fanny in 1931.  No war service record can be found for either of Philip’s brothers and it may be that they were in poor health, especially Sydney who died in 1928 aged 37.

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