In memory of Philip Henry Woolford

Portrait of Philip Henry WoolfordPhilip Henry Woolford grew up in a large family in Llan Ffestiniog. His parents were Mr and Mrs Alfred Woolford, of Pen y Bont.

Philip moved south for work. He was a collier at Ffaldau Colliery in Pontycymer, Garw Valley, when war broke out in August 1914. He immediately joined the army. His experience of working underground was valuable to the Royal Engineers. The RE allocated him to one of its tunnelling companies, which dug tunnels under enemy-held territory.

He was promoted from Sapper to Sergeant. Prisoners of war taken by his company included a German Corporal who was over two metres (6ft 8in) tall!

In July 1916 Philip received a certificate of proficiency in the use of mine-rescue apparatus; his knowledge was described as “excellent”.

He was wounded on three occasions. First he was shot in the back by a bullet. Then he was struck by shrapnel (a metal fragment) which injured his right hand and body. His jawbone was injured in the third incident. He spent months recuperating in hospitals in France.

He returned to the Garw Valley on leave on 31 August 1916. On 3 September he married Edith Mary Price, whose mother Kate lived at Railway Terrace, Blaengarw. The wedding took place at Bridgend Registry Office. The best man was Philip’s brother William, then living in Bedlinog.

Philip returned to the fray on 27 September and died on 2 October, less than a month after his wedding. He was 25 years old. He is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery in Mericourt-l’Abbé, near Amiens, France. In March 1917 Edith travelled to Cardiff to collect a posthumous medal, described by the press as the Military Medal.

Mr and Mrs Woolford lost another son, Albert, in April 1918. Albert was 16 years old and died of pneumonia, two months after taking up a job in Birkenhead.

Return to Llan Ffestiniog war memorial page

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