Saturday 8 November 2014

In Remembrance: Philip Camillus Wynne

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie 

In Flanders fields[1]

Last November, I introduced you to my Granda Kevin’s first cousin, Philip Camillus Wynne, who was born in Dundalk in May 1895. This Remembrance Day, I can tell you some more about our family’s WWI soldier and even show you his photo. It seems that he preferred the name Camillus to Philip. He enlisted in the British Army during World War I, joining the Royal Irish Rifles, and fought and died during the Battle of Bellewaarde, in Flanders, in June 1915. This photograph shows him proudly wearing his uniform, before heading to the front and was presumably treasured by his family when he did not return.

Philip Camillus Wynne (1895-1915)

Earlier this year, the National Archives of Ireland published his last will, albeit with his name misstated as Cornelius, not Camillus, in their index. The will reads:

WILL 15706
‘In the event of my death
I give the whole of my
property and effects to Mrs
Francis Stowell of,
St Mary's Road,
Co. Louth,
Jan. 30/1/15,
Signature Rifleman C. Wynne,
2nd Battalion,
R.I.R.’ [2]

Camillus wrote this will on the designated page of his army-issued pocket book, on 30 January 1915, less than six months before he died. He left all his possessions to his elder sister, Mrs. Frances (Wynne) Stowell, who had married the master mariner, Captain Robert Stowell, in 1908. Frances was the third child and second daughter of John Wynne and Margaret Armstrong/Ward, born in Dundalk in June 1881.

Camillus probably had no property of any value when he was killed. His whole estate may well have consisted of the eight pounds, thirteen shillings and six pence due to him by the Army in unpaid salary. When the War Office received a copy of the will in 1918, his salary had already been paid to his father, John. John Wynne, then a widower aged 67 years, was surprisingly found residing in Glasgow, Scotland, with a Mrs Walters. The letter the War Office then sent to Frances Stowell, to inform her of her entitlement, still survives in family-papers today.[3] 

Mrs. Francis (Wynne) Stowell, Dundalk
1918, Letter from War Office to Mrs. Francis Stowell

See also: Philip Camillus Wynne - Killed in Action in World War I  and Genealogy Saturday: Diary of a WWI Soldier's last days. 

[1] John McCrea, In Flanders fields, and other poems, New York, 1919, p. 3.
[2] Soldiers Wills, [Camillus] Wynne, National Archives of Ireland.
[3] Photograph of Camillus Wynne and Letter from the War Office to Mrs Francs Stowell, courtesy of Gabrielle, a Stowell descendant.  

© 2014 Black Raven Genealogy


  1. Wonderful picture & post. We owe a debt of thanks to the many who served.

  2. Thanks Colleen, I'm very grateful for receiving a copy of the photo For me, it highlights that Camillus, like so many others, died far too young.


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