Philip F. Cross
2nd Lieutenant, Royal West Kent Regiment
Philip F. Cross lived with his parents at 15 Holmdene Avenue, Herne Hill and was a student at Alleyn's until 1912. During his time at school, he was a member of Roper's House which he represented in cricket, football, fives, swimming and shooting. Philip was known at Alleyn's for being an excellent sportsmen and having an open and frank disposition which earned the respect of those around him. He was regarded by his teachers as having a sound character and as being 'one of the best'. In July 1912, he passed the senior school examination of London University and was fully expected to embark on a happy and successful career. However, when war broke out in August 1914, Philip decided to put this career on hold in favour of signing up to the war effort and carrying out his duty. He was granted a commission in the Army and joined the Royal West Kent Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant after receiving his military training. He was quickly given orders to embark for the Western Front but was able to pay a visit to Alleyn's before he left in the summer of 1916, bringing a couple of cricket balls with him as a gift to his house. By July 1916, Philip was serving with the Royal West Kent Regiment in France as the British launched their first major offensive on the Somme. He was involved in the operations at High Wood and advanced into battle in the early hours of the morning on July 22nd 1916. As Philip pushed forward with the infantry, he was wounded in action in front of the German lines. It was hoped that he might be taken as a prisoner by the German forces after the attack but his parents were later informed by the War Office that this had not been the case. He was presumed to have been killed on July 22nd and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
Philip is also remembered on the Herne Hill WW1 memorial website.