Philip George Heath MC 1895-1976
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Philip George Heath MC
1895-1976

Born: 1895 and died 1976
Son of: George Heath (1847-1923) and Martha Charlotte Schmidt (1864-1951).
Brother of:
1. Roland Heath (1889-1975) who married Eileen Heath (nee Mills).
2. Cmdr John Moore Heath (1891-1944) who married Hilary Heath (nee Salter, ?-1984).
3. Graham Douglas Heath (1899-1969) who married 1st Margret Heath (nee Harman, ?-1930) and then 2nd Joan Heath (nee Small, born 1914).
Phillip married: Olga Heath (nee Sinclair, 1896-1986)
Phillip and Olga had issue twin sons:
1. Prof Peter Heath. (1922-2002).
2. John Moore Heath (1922-2009) who married Patricia Bibby (born 1928).

Philip George Heath: An Overview

We know about Phillip George Heath from the following sources:

1. The book 'Records of the Heath Family Vol 1' by George Heath, 1913. 
2. The book 'Records of the Heath Family Vol 2' by George Heath, 1920.

 Records of the Heath Family Vol 1, page 100, reads as follows:

Phillip George, born at Hampstead, 19th Dec., 1895.  After attending two preparatory schools at Guildford and Burnham, Som., he obtained an exhibition at Malvern College and entered the Army class in hopes of becoming an R.E.  Various reasons induced him to give up this scheme and decide for a business career.  In Sept., 1912, he passed 1st class in the Matriculation Exam. of London University, and left Malvern in Dec., 1912, with a fine report and the best wishes of his masters.  He is now completing a six months course of German at Institut Tilly near Berlin, where he has made excellent progress, and intends later on to spend a considerable time in Milan for the study of Italian.  He hopes in due course to learn his business at Lloyd's.

Records of the Heath Family Vol 2, page 23, reads as follows:

CAPTAIN PHILIP GEORGE HEATH, M.C.

On my return from Milan I made a short stay in Paris, and then started work in the City with the firm of Messrs. Blackmore, insurance brokers.

On August 11th, 1914, I joined the 23rd London Regiment as a private, being stationed at St.Albans. Three months later I was offered and accepted a commission in the same regiment as my eldest brother, the 8th East Surrey. Our services, till we arrived in France, were identical. The regiment was, during eight months on and off, in various positions in front of Fricourt, near Mametz, etc., and no particular description of the life we led is necessary. In May, 1916, I had the offer of a post in the Trench Mortar Battery of my Brigade, the 55th, which I accepted, as I did not get on too well with my Colonel. On July 1st, the Brigade had the task of assaulting the village of Montaubau. The affair was a brilliant success, and the final objective was taken, although we had many casualties. My job during the battle was to bombard the enemy trenches for eight minutes before zero, and then follow my regiment in the assault. We had a very hot time crossing "No Man's Land" (I had two men killed within two yards of me), but we managed pretty well, and eventually arrived at the final objective about an hour after the infantry, no mean feat for my men, who had each to carry about 70-lbs weight of ammunition and parts of the gun. 

After this battle I had to go to hospital for a short time, but rejoined my battery in time for the battle of Thiepval, my worst experience during the war.. On September 25th, 1916, two Brigades took Thiepval and part of the Schwaben redoubt above it, and it was then the task of our Brigade to hold it. We succeeded in this, and even won some more of the redoubt, but every unit lost more than 50% of its effectives. After the battle, Sir Douglas Haig inspected the battery, and thanked them for their services during the battle; only one other unit in the Division was thus honoured. I was awarded the Military Cross for this action.

The next battle was November 16th, the storming of the line of defence before Miraumont. I again went over the top with my guns, and at the end of the action, much to my surprise, was pt in charge of the battery with the rank of Captain. As my Captain had gone down sick. Nothing of great importance occurred between this date and May 3rd, 1917, so far as our division was concerned. We took part in the pursuit of the Germans to the Hindenburg line, and then were allowed that greatest of rarities, a really good rest, lasting six weeks. On May 3rd the assault on Chevisy took place, in my opinion one of the worst fiascoes of the war.

My Brigade captured Chevisy (which, by the way, is on the Hindenburg line, not far from Arras0, but both flanks were exposed, and the whole line fell back to the point from which it started. After some time in this area we moved to the Ypres salient, where we had a terrible time, lasting eight months. We were engaged several times, and at Glencosse Wood near Zillebeke, at Poelcapelle, where the Brigade lost over 1200 men in two hours, and at the Houthulst Forest.  During all this period I never had a very great part to play, chiefly owing to the fact that it was almost impossible to move and serve the Stokes guns in the battery, on account of the appalling mud and weather conditions. Much to our relief, we moved in February, 1918, to Vendeuil, near La Fere, which lies about twelve miles from Noyon. At this time, March 14th, I was ordered to go to G.H.Q., to attend a conference of Trench Mortar Battery Commanders, who had assembled to lay down the law for the compilation of a handbook on Trench Mortars. So far as I know, the book has never yet appeared. At any rate, on my return to the Division, I found what was left of it after the March retreat, about five miles from Amiens; they had fought very finely from Vendeuil to West of Noyon (the Kaiser complimented some of the prisoners on their fine defence!) and had then been rushed across to defend Villers Bretonneux. This was done with great success, but losses were very heavy. I reformed the battery, and after the usual periods of trenches and resting, the next big attack took place on August 8th. My brigade was under a disadvantage, as we were attacked in our turn on August 6th, and had a lot of trouble to defend ourselves, while at the same time keeping our own preparations secret. However, our attack was very successful, and marked the beginning of the end. We were on the left wing of the 4th Army at Melancourt. No sooner was the attack over, then we were moved across the Ancre to the position in front of Albert. On 24th, we attacked and took Albert, and a running fight began over our old ground 0 Montauban,  Trones Wood, Combles, and St.Pierre Vaast Wood. At this time I was attached to Brigade Headquarters as Intelligence Officer, where (with the exception of three weeks at Divisional H.Q.) I stayed till the close of hostilities.

After this came the attack on the advanced position of the Hindenburg line at Ronsay. This again was a hard task, ass we were heavily outnumbered, but we eventually took the place, and things became much easier. After a short rest we were put in again just west of Le Cateau, and after three really hard fights, we advanced the line to the Sambre, about twelve miles away. At this time the Germans showed signs of demoralisation, and the whole business became rather easier and more interesting, as we were liberating villages day by day, being received everywhere with the greatest kindness and gratitude. The last attack on the Sambre  was the capture of part of the Mormal Forests. I was put in charge of an armoured car, which, with another, got right into the German lines and precipitated their retreat, besides capturing a German heavy battery. We were eventually ditched, owing to the filthy state of the road, and got back into our lines on the roof of the other car. At the Sambre our brigade was "cut out," owing to the shortening of the front. Four days later the Armistice was concluded. Three weeks later I as despatched to the 29th Division on a bridgehead at Berg-Gladbach near Cologne as an interpreter, and I stayed with this Division till my demobilisation on April 1st, 1919.

ARMY HONOURS
Supplement to the London Gazette, Nov. 25th, 1916

MILITARY CROSS

The King has been graciously pleased to confer the Military Cross on the following officers and warrant officers in recognition of their gallantry and devotion to duty in the field:-

Temp. Sec. Lt. Philip George Heath, E. Surr. R. - He fought his trench guns with great courage and skill, killing 42 of the enemy. Later, he fired one of his guns from a shell hole in front of the position, and thereby caused 40 of the enemy to surrender.

T./Capt. P.G. Heath, M.C., E. Surr. R. - For conspicuous gallantry and good leadership when commanding a trench mortar battery. By skilful handling of his guns he was of great assistance to the officer commanding the forward area in helping to establish the battalion on their position; and he also brought into action three enemy light trench mortars and inflicted losses, besides silencing an enemy machine gun. He behaved with great gallantry and energy throughout. (M.C. gazetted Nov. 25th, 1916).

And others

ARMY HONOURS

By General Sir H.S. Rawlinson, Bart., G.C.V.O., K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commanding 4th Army 

Immediate Rewards

Under authority delegated by His Majesty the King, the Field Marshal Commanding in Chief has made the following awards for gallantry and devotion to duty in action:

Bar to the Military Cross

Temporary Captain P.G.Heath, M.C., East Surrey Regiment, attached Trench Mortar Battery.

And others

H.C. Holman, Major-General  D.A. and  Q.M.G., Fourth Army

 

September 13th, 1918
Printed in France by Army Printing and Stationery Service.

WAR SERVICE

August, 1914.  Private 23rd London Regiment.
November, 1914.  2nd Lieutenant 8th East Surrey Regiment.
May, 1916.  Att. 55 Trench Mortar Battery.
September, 1916.  Military Cross.
December, 1916.  Promoted Captain.
August, 1918.  Bar to Military Cross.
August, 26th, 1918.  Att. 55 Inf. Brigade.
December, 1918.  Att. 86 Inf. Brigade (Interpreter).
April 1st, 1919.  Demobilised.

On my return to civil life I again entered the service of Messrs Blackmore & Co., and took up my residence in Paris for the development of a Continental insurance agency as a branch of their business.

He stayed in Paris for over six months, and was very successful in his results.

For various reasons, and in view of an attractive offer in Milan, he decided to quit Paris, and took service with Sig. L.D. Fiumi as Manager of one of his insurance companies, in March, 1920.  G.H.

 

If you have any information to add to what is listed please contact me on jj@jjhc.info

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