Rank: Gunner 168853 & 906764
Regiment or Ship: 6th Royal Sussex Brigade Royal Field Artillery (T) & Royal Horse Artillery
Service Number(s): 168853 & 906764
Date of Birth: 02.01.1891
Place of Birth: Battle Registration District (probably Bexhill)
Date of Death: 21.04.1961
Place of Death: Mount Pleasant Hospital, Hastings, SussexAddress: Silchester Villa, 10 Amherst Road, Bexhill
Photos and newspaper articles
Parents: Donald’s father, John Francis Philcox, married twice; the first time to Jane Pennells (1861–1913), in 1890, in the District of Hastings and, when Jane died in 1913, he married her sister, Lillian Pennells (1879–1958) a year later, in 1914. Donald was the only child of the first marriage so has only half-siblings from the second marriage.
Nancy Philcox (1915 – 1994)
Michael Philcox (1922 – 1983)
Donald Philcox married Dorothy Sophia Towner, on Sunday, 14th October 1917 at St Martin’s Church, Brasted, near Westerham – the ceremony being conducted by the Rector, the Rev. Eustace Bryan.
The marriage, however, ran into difficulties and, on Friday 9th May 1919, just over a year and a half later, Dorothy Sophia Philcox applied at the Sevenoaks Petty Sessions for a maintenance and separation order against her husband, on the grounds of desertion. Philcox
Dorothy was granted both the maintenance and the separation order – needless to say, no children have been found.
First World War Experience
None of Donald’s war service records has survived other than his Medal Roll Index Card, which gives no indication of him ever being in any theatre of war so, possibly, never went abroad.
What little we know comes from reports in the local newspapers, the Bexhill Chronicle and the Bexhill Observer.
From these, we are told that he, together with some friends, enlisted in August, 1914, in the 6th Sussex Battery, Royal Field Artillery (2nd Home Counties Brigade).
By February 1915, he was stationed at Slough with the rest of the Brigade.
Sometime in late 1915 or in January 1916 Donald was taken ill but no cause is given; however, he recovered and was passed as fit for foreign service.
According to his Medal Roll Index Card, he doesn’t appear to have ever gone abroad on foreign service and was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal – the 1914-15 Star being awarded only to those who had served in any theatre of war against Germany between 5th August 1914 and 31st December 1915.
Donald’s father, John Philcox, was born in St Leonard’s but, as a young man, came to Bexhill to learn the grocery trade, at Hunter’s, in Station Road. Subsequently, he started in business on his own, in Buckhurst Place and, after a few years, opened another shop in Sackville Road.
It was in working for his father at these shops that Donald gained his experience and entered the trade.
Strangely enough, Donald’s father in 1951, at the age of 88, was knocked down by a bicycle in Station Road, the road where he had learned his trade all those years before. It was believed by all that John never recovered from the shock of the accident, became seriously ill as a result, and died a few months later, in March 1952.