Tag Archives: Royal Dublin Fusiliers

Thomas Henry Liddon Addis

Thomas Henry Liddon Addis went by the name of Henry. His parents had lived in Melbourne, Australia before he was born. His father was the Reverend William Edward Addis, and his mother was Mary Rachel, daughter of Robert Flood, of Sydenham, Kent. They arrived in England on The Gulf of Siam in 1893 with their infant daughter, Robina Law (known as Ena).

The family settled in Nottingham, where they had a second daughter, Annie Brooke, in 1894. But Annie died when she was less than a year old. Henry – the only son – was born on the 24th August 1897.

By the 1901 census, the family had moved to Oxford, where they were living on Holywell Street. They had two servants, Mary Ray and Ada Chauk, and hosted a 26-year-old boarder called Philip E. Richards. During that time, Henry attended the Dragon School, who have shared a thoughtful biography of him in their online Portrait Gallery.

The family had moved to London by 1911, where Reverend Addis was Vicar of All Saints, with Holy Trinity, Knightsbridge. In September 1911, Henry arrived at Westminster as a Homeboarder. He was one of those boys who left few traces in the school magazines or archival record. However, we do know that he competed in the Tug of War in May 1914, and that he weighed 11st 6lb.

The month after he left the school in July 1915, he enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant, 4th Battalion (Extra Reserve) Royal Dublin Fusiliers. His sister Ena married an Alexander P. Richer in 1915, and they went on to have a son, Alex Neil Richter.

Henry was wounded in the Dublin insurrection on 27th April 1916 and, following his recovery, went out to the western front on the 12th July 1916. Back home, his father died in Twickenham on 20th February 1917.

He rose to Lieutenant in July 1917 and was wounded a second time at Lelonguet the following July. Henry was killed in “Sandbag Alley”, Lempire, France on the 21st March 1918.

In Nottingham, on the grave of the sister he never knew, is written:

“Some of the many in this town who knew and loved him, desire to record on this stone, in token of their never-changing regard, the death of her [Annie’s] father which to their deep sorrow, took place at Twickenham, on February 20th 1917. They bear in memory, too, with pride and affection, his son Henry, who fell in action in France on March 21st 1918, in his 21st year.”

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Denis Duncan Philby

Whilst at school Denis Duncan Philby lived in the shadow of his older brother Harry St. John Bridger Philby. Harry Philby was Captain of the School and elected to Trinity College Cambridge with the junior Samwaies scholarship. A talented cricketer, Harry went on to become a well-known Arabist and father to Kim Philby, the infamous 3rd man.

The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers at Aldershot in 1914
The 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers at Aldershot in 1914

Comparatively we know little of Denis Duncan Philby’s short life. He joined Ashburnham House in 1903 but later moved to Grant’s, presumably so that he could board. He took part in a House debate stating vociferously that he disapproved of Oliver Cromwell’s policies, particularly those towards Ireland. The football report notes that he ‘was very good at pushing his way up the touchline and at times surprised us by scoring goals’.

He joined the army well before the outbreak of war, joining the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in 1910 (presumably there was some family connection with Ireland). He was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers on August 18th 1914 and went out to the Western Front a few days later.


On the 27th August the 2nd Battalion was chosen to form the rear-guard to cover the retreat of the 1st Division during the Battle of Mons. The 2nd Battalion suffered large casualties losing 9 officers and 87 other ranks whilst many more were taken prisoner. They stemmed the German forces who were five or six times their strength for over a day, allowing their division to escape. When the scattered battalion reassembled on 29 August it was down to a mere 5 officers and 196 others. New recruits were co-opted over the next two months to bring the battalion back up to size.

The next action took place at Klien Zillebeke, near Ypres on November 12th, defending against the last major German offensive in the First Battle of Ypres. It was here that Philby was killed in action. He is buried in the New Irish Farm Cemetery in West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

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