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The Philp brothers both enlisted to serve in World War I, Herbert (1889-1920) on 23 September 1914 and Norman (1896-1968) on 10 May 1915. Their parents were Mary Elizabeth Healey and William Philp, a bandmaster, and they lived in Guelph, Ont. One of their sisters, Helen Isabel Philp was the great-grandmother of the writer Trevor Cole.
Herb began his military service as a trumpeter in first Canadian Contingent, Divisional Signal Co. He later was assigned to the 8th Battalion of Winnipeg. He served in the battle of Passchendaele in November 1917 and received the Mons Star on 13 January 1920. Although he returned to Canada, he died of pneumonia on 19 January 1920 at the age of 31. At the time of his death he was on the editorial staff of the Guelph Mercury.
Herb wrote letters home which were published in the local newspaper, the Daily Courier, beginning with “Good Omen Meets Canadian Contingent” which was written on 17 October 1914. His letters were also published in the Guelph Evening Mercury and Advertiser. He describes the third Battle of Ypres, June 1916. His writing continues to 1919 when he describes the occupation of Germany. He collapsed shortly thereafter. His brother Norman also wrote letters home which were published. He served with the Canadian Ordnance Corps.