Unsolved Murders

Stanley Phillips

Age: 20

Sex: male

Date: 20 Feb 1932

Place: Risborough Barracks, Shorncliffe, Kent

Stanley Phillips was found shot.

He was a private in the Sherwood Foresters and was found shot dead near the Battalion's drill shed at Shorncliffe on the Saturday morning.

He was found face downwards in a pathway with a rifle about 4ft away from his feet with a wound to his head. There was an empty cartridge case in the breech of the rifle.

At the time he had been doing duty with the regimental police and had to patrol unarmed during the night. Later at 4.50am on the Saturday morning he went into the guardroom and then left saying that he was going to the cookhouse for his tea, at which time he had no rifle with him.

The alarm was later raised at 6.30am when the sergeant was informed that something had happened, and Stanley Phillips was found at the back of the drill shed lying on the ground in a pool of blood.

The rifle belonged to another soldier that said that his gun was in the rack near his bed at midnight on the Friday but that he missed it on the following morning at 7am. Stanley Phillips's own rifle was kept in the same room. The man whose rifle was missing noted that his rifle was the first on the right side on entering the room.

A Major that examined the wound said that there was an absence of evidence that the rifle had been discharged at close range but added that he didn't expect to find singeing or charring with a cordite cartridge.

The Major suggested that Stanley Phillips might have discharged the rifle when he was bending over it or had discharged it by placing the trigger slot in one of the slots in the adjoining fence. However, a juryman commented that if Stanley Phillips had shot himself whilst bending over the rifle that he would have expected him to have fallen face downwards on the rifle.

Stanley Phillips had joined the battalion in December 1931. He was from Parkfield Road in Wolverhampton. A sergeant said he didn't think that Stanley Phillips had any enemies.

Before the jury returned their verdict, the Coroner told them that if they felt doubt as to whether Phillips had removed the rifle from the barrack-room and discharged it they should return an open verdict and that if they did so they implied that somebody else got the rifle out.

An open verdict was returned.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Gloucester Citizen - Tuesday 23 February 1932

see Birmingham Daily Gazette - Tuesday 23 February 1932

see Dover Express - Friday 26 February 1932