Philip Wolsey

Bank: National Provincial Bank of England

Place of work: London City Office

Died: 8 November 1918


Philip Wolsey was born on 5 August 1889, the son of William Edward Wolsey, collector of customs at Dover, and his wife Margaret Ethel.


In December 1905, when he was 16 years old, Wolsey followed in the footsteps of his older brother Frederick by going to work for National Provincial Bank of England. He started as an apprentice at the bank's Folkestone branch, where his manager described him as a 'sharp intelligent youth of excellent promise'. He passed the preliminary examinations of the Institute of Bankers in 1909 and was promoted to a clerkship in the same year. He transferred to Deal branch in January 1911, and to London office in March 1913. He was also a member of the bank's staff sports club.


In 1914 Wolsey left the bank to go on military service. He served throughout the war, and by 1918 was a Company Quartermaster Serjeant in The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He was killed in action in Belgium on 8 November 1918, just three days before the signing of the Armistice. He was 29 years old.


National Provincial Bank of England was notified of Wolsey's death by his older brother Frederick, who also worked for the bank. He wrote, 'The sad news reached us after the Armistice was signed, and the same post brought letters from himself, his Captain and the Chaplain who officiated at the funeral. He fought in the Dardanelles, Egypt, Palestine and France and went through from 1914 to three days of the end ... I feel the loss keenly and can scarcely realise the fact yet.' Frederick's letter, which still survives in the archives, was annotated by its recipient at the bank with the words 'very very sad' and '248th death'.


Philip Wolsey is commemorated on a bank war memorial held at NatWest Group Archives

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Message of remembrance 


Iain Wolsey June 28 2023 12:22PM

As a family we are so grateful to know that Philip is remebered by the bank he served befroe the great war in which he gave the last full measure and which changed the lives of evryone. Philip served in the 10th Btn. of the Buffs (East and West Kent Yeomanry) . He was killed at Tournai in Belgium and his grave is in the Commonwealth war graaves section of a public cemetery there and his headsstone is back to back with that of C.H. Thorpe (also Company Qyartermaster Sergeant in the same battalion) who was killed on the same day. CH Thorpe was 32 years old and came from Tonbridge Wells - but we do not know if he was also a member of the National Provincial Bank prior to the war . We believe they were good friends as well as colleagues and may have been together when they died. Philip's sister Margaret (Madge) was a thetre sister  who received the Royal Red Cross. We have fer medals and a miniature diary for 1917/19/18 which details the brutal extremes ofworking under fire  on the front line. Sadly she died in 1929 of recurrent illness dating from the war.  She nursed my father when he was ill as a boy in Folkestone,  I myself met great Aunt Adelaide(Addie) , Madge's sistier,  on days out from school in Canterbury  in the 1950’s. She was also a nurse in the QAIMNs and lived out her life in Folkestone.  We know Philip and Madge were very close and corresponded regularly. Philip had 4 older brothers - Ernest,Teddy, Fred (whose letter you have in the archive ), George (my grandfather) and 2 sisters Madge and Addie.  

We will remeber them all