RUSSELL, Philip Durham Le Cren
(Service number 9/753)

Aliases Cenotaph Database has Philip David RUSSELL
First Rank Trooper Last Rank Lieutenant


Date 8 May 1881 Place of Birth Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date Age
Address at Enlistment Whakarau, Private Bag, Gisborne
Occupation Sheep farmer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin H. H. RUSSELL, Gisborne; H. A. Le CREN, Fairlie, South Canterbury
Religion Church of England
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 2nd Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Otago Mounted Rifles
Date 14 December 1914
Transport Verdala or Willochra or Knight of the Garter
Embarked From Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 1 July 1970 Age 89 years
Place of Death
Memorial or Cemetery Taruheru Cemetery, Gisborne
Memorial Reference Block 26, Plot 447
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Philip Durham Le Cren Russell was the third of the three sons of Philip Henderson Russell and his wife Margaret Douglas née Le Cren. He was baptised on 30 May 1881 at St Mary’s Timaru, the sponsors being Henry John Le Cren, his grandfather, George Gray Russell, a paternal uncle, and Helen Mabel Le Cren, an aunt. Philip senior, a long-time invalid, died at Otipua nine weeks before young Philip was born. Their mother remarried in 1886 in London, to George Row. She died in 1935 in Kensington, London. Probate was granted to her son George and his wife (who was Margaret’s niece). George and his brothers may have been educated at Taita School before going on to Wanganui Collegiate.

Philip was sheep farming at Whakarau near Gisborne, possibly with his brother Henry, whom he named as next-of kin. Before his return home, he gave his uncle, Henry Arthur Le Cren, of Fairlie, as next-of-kin. Philip's son recalls:

"He fought at Gallipoli. Later in Palestine against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. I recall that he told me the Turks were formidable. He was with the Otago machine gun corps.He was machine gunned by the Turks and evacuated to Cairo. Once out of hospital , he sent a cable to Dalgety's in London Which sent him sovereigns for his expenses. He told me that was the last time he ever saw one."

Lieutenant P. D. Russell returned home with Draft 191 of invalided soldiers by the “Remuera”, embarking at Liverpool on 7 September 1918 and arriving on 23 October.

During the war Philip had married Angela Grace Mary Worthington on 9 May 1916 in London. Sometime after their return to New Zealand, Philip and Angela went their ways. At the age of 63, Philip was at the Union Club in Boston, when he registered for World War II. He remarried in 1957, to Florence Isobel Heikell or Willis. Both Angela and Florence predeceased Philip though, Angela being cremated at Purewa in 1963, Florence dying in 1966 and buried with Philip.

Philip’s brother, George Gray Russell, served with the British Forces with distinction, and his oldest brother, Henry Hastings Le Cren Russell, was listed in the Reserves, was called up and enlisted, but served in new Zealand only.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [08 March 2020]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [08 March 2020]; Taruheru Cemetery burial record & headstone image (Gisborne District Council) [08 March 2020]; NZ Times, 28 June 1916, Evening Post, 14 October 1918, Sun, 14 October 1918 (Papers Past) [03 March 2020]; SCRoll webs submission by P Russell, 25 July 2023.

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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