Private Francis Edward Philpot
Reg. No. 2850 (2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment)
Killed In Action: 9 May 1917
Commemorated: Ypres Menin Gate
George Edward Philpot (1857 - 1907)
George was Francis' father and, whilst being born in Gayhurst, Buckinghamshire in about 1857, it appears that his roots were in Thurleigh. The 1861 census shows his family living in the village. In 1871, he is noted as a Boarder in Tavistock Street, Bedford, acting as an errand boy to a Grocer.
It's unclear where he went from there, but the next reference to him is in 1891 when he is listed as being a sergeant in the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards, based in Chelsea. The following year he has moved to, or been based in, Jersey since records show Edward being born there in about 1892.
At some stage, George had married a woman called Jane, who was born in Biggin, Derbyshire in about 1859. The family is still living there at the time of the 1901 census. Sometime after that, the family move back to George's roots, where he becomes publican of the Red Lion pub. However, he died on 21 November 1907, probate being granted to his wife to the sum of £108 10s.
It appears that Jane left the village and there is a recorded death of a Jane Philpot in Wellingborough in 1932.
Francis Edward Philpot (1892 - 1915)
Francis was born in St Brelades, Jersey, about 1892. Following his father's death in 1907, his mother continued to run the Red Lion pub and they are shown as still being there in 1911. Francis is described as being an Insurance Agent at the time, aged 19.
On 18 Jan 1914, Francis married Eva Ida Andrews (1889 - 1982) at St Peter's Church. She was the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Andrews from Bletsoe. At some stage, Francis enlisted with the 2nd Battalion East Surrey Regiment, but none of his military records exist. He was killed in action on 9 May 1915, possibly unaware that Eva was pregnant with their daughter, Violet M, who was born in the last quarter of 1915.
Francis was probably killed during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, which started in April 1915. This would account for him being commemorated at the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. This was the first battle in which the Germans used poison gas, so Francis might certainly have experienced this if not being actually killed by it.
The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war. The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates casualties from the forces of Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and United Kingdom who died in the Salient. In the case of United Kingdom casualties, only those killed prior 16 August 1917 are commemorated there.