Phillips, William Barnett

PhillipsWi (2)


Corporal William Barnett Phillips – C 5680 – ACTIVE SERVICE (World War II)

On March 21, 1940 William Barnett Phillips completed the Attestation Paper for the Canadian Active Service Force (CASF) in Peterborough, Ontario. He was 27 years, 11 months and 5 days old, when as a married man with 3 children, he enlisted for the duration of the War. William Barnett was born in Liverpool, England, and gave his birth-date as April 16, 1912; he lists Lakefield, Ontario as his present address. William Barnett indicated that he had no previous Military experience. As far as education, his File indicates that he completed an equivalent to Grade 10 in 1925 in England; he listed Labourer as his Trade or Calling. William Barnett was 5′ 9” tall, weighed 150 pounds. He had a medium complexion, gray eyes and brown hair. His medical examination took place in Peterborough, Ontario, he had no medical issues or physical limitations and as such he was deemed fit (Category A) for Overseas duty with the CASF. His next-of-kin was listed as his wife; Mrs. Lillian Amy Phillips of Lakefield. William Barnett signed the Oath and Certificate of Attestation on March 21, 1940 in Peterborough. The Certificate of Magistrate was signed in Peterborough on the same day. William Barnett Phillips was taken-on-strength as a Private (Pte) with the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment (H&PER) CASF and was assigned Service Number C 5680.

March 26, 1940 Pte Phillips indicated that he had Insurance with Metropolitan Life and Premiums are being paid. Also on Mach 26, 1940 he made a Will which stated “All I own” to Mrs. Lillian Amy Phillips, Lakefield Ontario. The H&PER was mobilized to active service on September 1, 1939. It was re-designated the 1st Battalion, Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment CASF on November 7, 1940.
Note: Military District (MD) No 5 is a designated area in Québec, however a Veteran may be physically located elsewhere. There are “paper” transfers which don’t involve physical movement of a person.

On April 19, 1940 Pte Phillips was struck-off-strength from the H&PER CASF on transfer to the Canadian Infantry (Reinforcement) Training Centre, Military District No 5 [CI(R)TC] Military District (MD) No 5, but was situated in Picton, Ontario. April 20, 1940 he was attached to the CI(R)TC War Establishment Force (WEF)from the H&PER, Regimental Depot. May 28, 1940 Pte Phillips ceased to be attached to CI(R)TC WEF (Québec). On May 29, 1940 he is shown attached, for all purposes (fap), from H&PER MD No 5 (Québec) to No 1 Canadian Infantry Reinforcement Training Centre (CIRTC) Camp Borden, Ontario. On July 6, 1940 he was attached fap to the Canadian Armoured Fighting Vehicle Training Centre (CAFVTC) at Camp Borden. Research indicates that; although the Tank School closed in early 1940; when Pte Phillips arrived for training; Courses in Tactical, Wireless and Gunnery were still being offered. On August 24, 1940 he ceased to be attached to the CAFVTC. August 25, 1940 he is attached to CAFVTC, No1 CIRTC at Camp Borden. Pte Phillips was on a Bren Gun Carrier Driving Course from July 29, 1940 to January 1, 1941.

February 2, 1941 Pte Phillips ceased to be attached to CAFVTC at Camp Borden from the H&PER Regimental Depot. On the same day; he was taken-on-strength H&PER Depot and struck-off-strength H&PER Depot on proceeding Overseas as reinforcement to H&PER Canadian Army (Active) CA (A). A note in his File indicates: This man proceeded Overseas direct from No 1 CI(R)TC Military District 2 (MD 2) which is an area in Toronto, Ontario. Pte Phillips embarked from Halifax on February 4, 1941 and was struck-off-strength from the CA (A). There is no reference in his File as to what ship he embarked on. On February 5, 1941 he was taken-on-strength with the No 1 Canadian Infantry Holding Unit (CIHU) at Whitley, England. His File indicates that Pte Phillips disembarked at Gourock, Scotland on March 1, 1941. On July 10, 1941 he was granted a 9 day Privilege Leave. August 7, 1941 Pte Phillips was struck-off-strength from the No 1 CIHU on posting to the No 5 Canadian Field Ambulance (CFA). On August 8, 1941 he was taken-on-strength to the No 5 CFA from No 1 CIHU. On August 23, 1941 Pte Phillips was informed of the birth of a son (William Reginald in Lakefield). October 8, 1941 Pte Phillips was struck-off-strength from the No 5 CFA on assignment to HQ, 1st Canadian Division (Cdn Div), Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) as a Military Helper. October 9, 1941 he was taken-on-strength with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC) Supernumerary to the War Establishment (WE), from the HQ, 1st Cdn Div, RCASC. On October 13, 1941 Pte Phillips was granted a Privilege Leave to October 20, 1941 with a Warrant.
January 31, 1942 Pte Phillips was struck-off-strength from HQ, 1st Cdn Div and ceased to be carried Supernumerary to the War Establishment (WE). On February 1, 1942 he was taken-on-strength Supernumerary to the Establishment (Est) as an Auxiliary Helper. February 18, 1942 Pte Phillips was promoted to an Acting Corporal (A/Cpl) (unpaid). A/Cpl Phillips was granted Leave from April 13 to 20, 1942. He was granted another period of Leave from July 13 to 20, 1942. On August 24, 1942 A/Cpl Phillips was struck-off-strength from the HQ 1st Cdn Div to HQ, 2nd CIB. On August 25, 1942 he was taken-on-strength with HQ, 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade (CIB). His File now shows him as a Private.

It was common practice for soldiers to be reduced in rank when embarking to go Overseas. Pte Phillips was granted Leave from October 9 to 16, 1942.

January 1, 1943 Pte Phillips Daily Rate of Pay was shown as $1:50. He was granted a Leave from January 8 to 15, 1943. On August 15, 1943 Pte Phillips, upon embarkation, was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army United Kingdom (UK). The following day, August 16, 1943 he was taken-on-strength with the Canadian Army Mediterranean. On August 27, 1943 he disembarked. There is no indication of the Port of Disembarkation or the ship that he arrived on. Based on the date, his point of disembarkation would have been in southern Sicily. He was now part of the Central Mediterranean Force (CMF). At this point, no date is indicated, he was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp. December 12, 1943 he was struck-off-strength from HQ, 2nd CIB to the H&PER X-3 List, and is now shown as a ”Military Helper”. The X-3 List was for Personnel removed for Medical Reasons. On December 18, 1943 he was taken-on-strength from the H&PER X-3 List, but there is no indication of the Unit that he moved to.

January 31, 1944 Pte Phillips was struck-off-strength to the No 4 Canadian Auxiliary Service HQ, 2nd CIB. February 1, 1944 he is shown as: attached fap to HQ, 2nd CIB ”Military Helper”. On the same day he was taken-on-strength from HQ, 2nd CIB with Auxiliary Service CA as Military Helper. He is now shown as being with the AAI (Allied Army Italy). February 21, 1944 he was struck-off-strength to X-3 List and ceased to be attached to HQ, 2nd CIB. March 9, 1944 Pte Phillips was admitted to the No 1 General Hospital and was discharged on March15, 1944. On May 10, 1944 Pte Phillips ceases to be Military Helper. May 14, 1944 he was taken-on-strength with the 3rd Battalion H&PER from X-4 List. July 1, 1944 he was struck-off-strength to the general X4 List (8th Bn). July 5, 1944 Pte Phillips was to be Acting Corporal (A/Cpl). On July 9, 1944 A/Cpl was taken-on-strength from the X-4 General List and was posted for all purposes to the 5th Canadian Mechanized Regiment (Cdn Mech Regt) – Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA). November 5, 1944 A/Cpl Phillips was confirmed in the rank of Corporal (Cpl).

Cpl Phillips embarked Italy on March 1, 1945 and disembarked in France March 6, 1945. Nothing in his File indicates the Port of Embarkation, what ship he was on, and which was the Port of Disembarkation. On March 17, 1945 he was struck-off-strength to the 1st Canadian Auxiliary Service. On March 18, 1945 he is shown taken-on-strength from Detachment 1st Canadian Auxiliary Service. On the same day, he was attached to the 5th Cdn Mech Regt. Cpl Phillips is granted 9 days Privilege Leave to the UK with Allowances from April 20 to 29, 1945. On August 6, 1945 Cpl Phillips ceased to be attached to the 5th Cdn Mech Regt and is struck-off-strength to the No 328 Canada Draft (CD) Military District (MD) No 3. August 7, 1945 he was taken-on-strength with the No 328 CD MD No 3 from the 1st Cdn Auxiliary Service Section. On August 16, 1945 he embarked from North West Europe (NWE); disembarked in the United Kingdom on the same day and was attached fap to the No 6 Repatriation Depot. On August 18, 1945 he was struck-off-strength from the No 328 CD MD No 3 to the No 6 Repatriation Depot. On August 19, 1945 he was taken-on-strength from the No 6 Repatriation Depot.

On August 31, 1945 Cpl Phillips was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Army Overseas, No 6 Repatriation Depot to No 3 District Depot (DD). Also on August 31, 1945 Cpl Phillips was awarded a War Service Gratuity of $1,267.87 with a monthly instalment of $169.50. On September 1, 1945 he was taken-on-strength at No 3 DD from the Canadian Army Overseas. On September 10, 1945 he was granted 30 days Leave with a Ration Allowance to October 9, 1945.
A Record of Service dated October 29, 1945 indicates, in part: ”Corporal William Phillips was a fully trained Infantryman who transferred to the Canadian Auxiliary Services where he was employed as Film Projectionist and Canteen Operator for 48 months in the UK, CMF (Canadian Mediterranean Force), and NWE”. On October 30, 1945 upon discharge and a return to civil life on demobilization, he was struck-off-strength from the Canadian Active Service Force. He was granted a $100.00 Clothing Allowance and a Rehabilitation Grant. His address upon discharge is Fitzgerald St., Lakefield Ontario.

Corporal William Barnett Phillips Military File indicates that he was eligible to receive the following Medals, the:

1939 – 45 Star;
Italy Star;
France and Germany Star;
Defence Medal;
Canadian Volunteer Service Medal & Clasp and
War Medal 1939 – 45.
He also would have received the General Service Badge Class A.

According to his Military File, Cpl Phillips served a total of 5 years, 7 months, and 9 days with the Canadian Active Service Force: 1 year and 11 days in Canada; 2 years, 6 months, and 10 days in the U.K.; 2 year, 6 months, and 19 days in Italy; and 4 months 9 days in North West Europe.

An excerpt from an article in Maclean’s by Barbara Ameil, September 1996:

”The Military is the single calling in the world with job specifications that include a commitment to die for your nation. What could be more honorable”.



William Barnett Phillips was born in Liverpool, England on April 16, 1912, the son of Thomas Barton Phillips and Esther Amy Ainsworth. He received his education in England and later worked as a store clerk courier.

In 1930, at the age of 18 years, William Phillips left England alone and immigrated to Canada arriving in Fraserville, Ontario. He worked as a farm hand for Bruce Snelgrove and was treated by the Snelgrove family as a member of their family until their deaths. He continued to work as a farm hand and lumber jack in and around the Peterborough area.

In 1935, William married Lillian Amy Stones, daughter of Arthur and Amy Lavina Stones, in All Saints Anglican Church in Peterborough. They made their home in Lakefield, Ontario at 24 William Street and had three children: Esther Amy, Elizabeth “Betty” Mary and David George Phillips. On March 21, 1940, William enlisted to serve his country and trained at Camp Borden before he went overseas. At this time, his wife Lillian was pregnant with their fourth child and he didn’t get to see his son, William Stephen, until his return from the war five years later in June 1945. During the war William was a supply truck driver, ambulance driver and provided movies for entertainment for the troops.

After the War, the family was still living in Lakefield on William Street and their fifth child, Doris Lillian was born a year later. In 1947, they built a new home on Fitzgerald Street with the help of Veteran Assistance. Then William got a job at the Canadian General Electric Company in Peterborough working as a Security Guard. Travelling back and forth to work from Lakefield was difficult so the family sold their home in Lakefield in 1951 and moved to 383 Erskine Street in Peterborough.

William also volunteered with the St. John’s Ambulance Service and enjoyed teaching first aid courses. Lillian and William also liked to travel. William passed away on July 31, 1982 and Lillian died on September 7, 1992; both are buried in Little Lake Cemetery in Peterborough.


The paternal grandparents of William Barnett Phillips were William and Sarah Phillips and his maternal grandfather was Richard Ainsworth, all of England.

His parents were Thomas Barton Phillips and Esther Amy Ainsworth of England and they had a family of four children – Doris, Thomas, Edward and William Barnett Phillips.