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The son of John and Eliza Phillips, Henry was born in Ludlow, Shropshire in 1892. At some point he moved to Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. By 1911, his parents and siblings Annie, Hubert, May, Gerty and Elsie, were living at 75 North Street, Wednesfield, but Henry was not listed with them.

On 6 September 1914, he enlisted in the General Service Corps (number G/6585), when his trade was given as miner. He served with the 3rd Dragoon Guards (number 21108), and by 29 June 1915, he was posted to the 1st Battalion of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment). He was killed in action on 25 September 1916. He is commemorated at the Thiepval Memorial, as well as on the memorial in Wednesfield.