Summary of Military Service

Philip Martin Filtz

Regimental No. 3320214

 

          Philip Martin Filtz was born on August 20, 1895 at Kingston, Ontario.  He was single and lived with his parents, Philip and Agnes Filtz, at 79 Elm Street, Kingston.  Philip was the youngest of six children (1).  Philip worked as a plumber.  His stated religion was Baptist.  His brother John, r/n 8096, died of wounds on June 04, 1916, while serving with the 15th Battalion.   George William Pettitt, r/n 348655, his future brother-in-law, also served in World War One. 

          Philip was conscripted into the 2nd Depot Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment, Military District 3, at Ottawa, Ontario on January 14, 1918.  According to his “Particulars of Recruit” form, he had no previous military service.  He listed his mother as his next of kin.  Physically, Philip was 22 years, 2 months old.  He stood 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed 132 pounds.  He was described as having a fair complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair.  His induction physical exam, completed at Smith’s Falls, Ontario in October 1917, found him fit for overseas duty. 

          There is nothing on file regarding any training in Canada.   He moved overseas very quickly.  Less than six weeks after his induction, Philip was part of a reinforcing draft that embarked from Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard SS Lapland on February 14, 1918 (2).  Just as his brother John was part of the first Canadian volunteer contingent to proceed overseas, Philip was part of the first conscript contingent after the introduction of the Military Service Act of 1917.  The Lapland landed at Liverpool on February 24.  Pte Filtz was posted to the 6th Reserve Battalion at Seaford the following day.  He spent most of the next seven months training at Seaford. 

          On September 26, 1918, Philip was posted to the 21st Bn.  He arrived at the Canadian Infantry Base Depot at Etaples, France.  The CIBD War Diary records that 433 other ranks arrived on what was described as a “dull, showery” day.  He reported to the 21st Bn the following day, as part of a draft of 91 men, mostly conscripts (3).  By this time, many of the new men in reinforcing drafts were Military Service Act conscripts.  They were not given much of an initial welcome to the battalion (4).  Appendix “Y” of the 21st Bn War Diary for September expressed disappointment in the quality of the new reinforcements:

          “But the bulk of the reinforcements were new men, whose training, up to date, had not proved to be up to the standard of previous reinforcements.”

On October 03, he was struck off strength from the 21st Bn, and transferred “in the field” to the 44th Bn. of the 10th Infantry Brigade, Fourth Canadian Division (5).  It appears that almost the entire draft that reported on September 27 was transferred to the 44th Battalion (6).    

          Philip reported to the 44th Bn in the field on October 12.  The battalion was in rest billets in Arras.  According to his “Casualty Form – Active Service”, on October 26, Philip was “LAR for CCRC” at Aubin St Vaast.  The meaning of this abbreviation has not been determined.  The War Diary of the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp recorded the arrival of two ORs TOS from the 44th Bn.  He rejoined the battalion in the field on November 16.  Philip would serve together with Pte AP Menzies, r/n 234686. 

          The 44th Bn was assigned to take part in the advance to the Rhine following the Armistice.  On November 23, 1918, this was changed, and the battalion was ordered to remain in Belgium.  Billeted first at Forville, France in early December, the 44th Bn spent most of the winter billeted in private homes in and around Overyssche, near Brussels from early January of 1919.  Philip was promoted to Lance Corporal on December 30, 1918.  

          While in billets the battalion maintained a routine of training, education classes, physical training and route marching.  On March 25, the 44th Bn was inspected by the King of Belgium.   On April 17, the battalion marched out from its billets at Overyssche enroute to Le Havre, and the first part of the journey back to Canada.  They departed Le Havre for Southampton aboard the USS David on April 27/28.  The battalion was posted to E Wing, Canadian Corps Camp at Bramshott. 

          For the next week, the men’s time was filled with activities relating to demobilization.  Philip’s demobilization medical was held on April 30, 1919.  He was found to have poor eyesight, which predated his active service, not caused or aggravated by service.  He needed glasses, but refused to wear them.  Dental problems were noted which required further treatment, (at government expense) in later years.  Most members of the battalion went on embarkation leave from May 04.  This leave was extended to May 23, but most soldiers unable to travel much due to lack of funds.   On May 28, 1919, the 44th Bn boarded the SS Empress of Britain at Liverpool, landing at Quebec City on the evening of June 04.  The battalion went to St John, New Brunswick for its final demobilization parade (7) but the Manitoba and Ontario men were sent direct to their home stations. 

          Philip was conscripted as a private, and later promoted to lance corporal.  He was paid $1.00 per day as a private.  This increased to $1.10 as a corporal.  He also received a field allowance of ten cents each day.  Philip assigned $20.00 each month home to his mother.  He was not eligible for a separation allowance.  He held no special qualifications and received no commendations.  There were no disciplinary notations on file against him.  On discharge, he received a war service gratuity of $280.00.   Philip was also given a Class A War Service Badge.  He was presented with the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his war service, as noted on Medal Roll B, page 17645.  His medals show his rank as lance corporal, but his active service unit as the 21st battalion – a unit he served with for barely a week.   

          Philip was discharged due to demobilization at the Military District 3 Depot on June 06, 1919.   

 

 

Bibliography and Footnotes

 

Source:          LAC RG150, 1992-93/166, Box 3081-44 

Russenholt, ES, “Six Thousand Canadian Men, The Official History of the 44th Battalion, Canadian Infantry”, published by De Montfort Press, 1932    

Nichol, Stephen J, “Ordinary Heroes, Eastern Ontario’s 21st Battalion CEF in The Great War”, self published, 2008
 

1.          Maternal Grandparents: 

          Philip Filtz, born April 09, 1856 in Canada

          Agnes McLennan (Reid) Filtz, born December 05, 1856 in Scotland

          Lived at 79 Elm Street, Kingston, Ontario circa 1914-18.

 

          Their children were:

          Richard B, born March 25, 1882

          John McLennan, born August 24, 1884 – June 04, 1916

          Evalena, born October 06, 1888 – ca June 1963

          Mirabel, (aka Mina), born May 17, 188?

          Olive, born June 06, 1891

          Philip Martin, born August 20, 1894 

          Evalina died ca June 1963.  At the time of her death, Richard, Mina (Pettitt), and Olive (McCormick) were still alive.  Mina married George William Pettitt, (his second marriage). 

2.          Philip’s name appears on the draft sailing list for the 1st draft, 2nd Depot Battalion, Eastern Ontario Regiment.  (Ref:  LAC file RG9 II B9 Vol 48, File 1122) 

3.       See Daily Order 77, dated October 04, 1918 

4.       See “Ordinary Heroes” at pages 196-197. 

5.       See 21st Bn DO 79, dated October 10, 1918; and 44th Bn DO 126, dated October 11, 1918. 

6.       Philip Filtz is named on both “Nichols” complete 21st Bn nominal role and “Russenholt’s” complete 44th Bn nominal role. 

7.                  By 1918, the 44th Bn was redesignated from a Manitoba to a New Brunswick battalion.  Despite that, the battalion maintained ongoing ties with Winnipeg after the war.  In 1926, the battalion’s memorial on The Pimple, Vimy Ridge was slated for demolition for the new national memorial.  The 44th Bn Association arranged for it to be moved to Winnipeg.   It was rededicated at St James Park, (today known as Vimy Park), at the corner of Canora Street and Portage Avenue.  For many years afterward, the surviving members of the battalion would hold a memorial service each October 25 at the memorial.  (October 25 was the anniversary of the attack on Regina Trench, during the Somme campaign.)

 Researched by Jim Busby at the Library and Archives of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.  

 

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