THE family of a former soldier who had evacuated his family to Settle before falling at Normandy in World War Two, is hoping his name will finally appear on Settle’s war memorial.

The omission was first spotted by historian and author Keith Taylor who was in the district earlier this year researching his book, Wartime Sacrifice in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mr Taylor, from Derbyshire, said: “While recalling the stories of the lives and deaths of the service personnel from the Dales in the Second World War, I came across the story of Thomas Phillips in a back copy of the Craven Herald.

“Although he had strong connections to the town, his name is not on the war memorial, but I included his story and it was discovered by his son, Derek, who now lives in Scotland.”

Thomas Phillips was from Liverpool and evacuated his wife, son Derek who was two at the time, and Thomas’ sister and her two sons to Settle in 1940.

He had just joined the 9th Royal Tank Regiment, rising to the rank of sergeant, and joined his family in the town when he had leave.

After the war his widowed wife decided to stay in Settle and Derek was brought up in the town.

Mr Taylor said Derek got a copy of his book and also provided him with much better photographs and offering him more information about his late father.

“He said his father’s name is not even on any war memorial in his home city of Liverpool,” said Mr Taylor.

“I felt so strongly that this fallen soldier should have his name there, certainly because he regarded Settle as his new home, at least for the duration of the war, and for the fact that his widow was so comfortable there when the war ended that she decided to stay,” he added.

Mr Taylor said the additional information Derek gave him revealed that Thomas Phillips was born in Liverpool in 1908.

He married Margaret McKay, born in Liverpool in 1920, in 1936 and Thomas worked as a clerk for a dried fruit importing company.

Their son, Derek, was born in the city in 1938.

For many years before the war, the couple were members of their church Ramblers group and had strong links to Zion Congregational Church, in Settle.

Parties of the group went to Settle for holidays and stayed in Liverpool House, in Chapel Square. It allowed Thomas to get to know the Dales town and its friendly residents.

In 1940, just a year after World War Two broke out, Thomas was called up and in the same year decided to take his family to Settle because he knew it would be a safe haven for his family to escape the air raids which bombarded Liverpool.

They rented a house in Kirkgate and for the following three years Thomas trained with his regiment in England and Scotland.

Whenever his leave would allow he would return to Settle to visit his family.

Finally his battalion, with their Churchill tanks, disembarked on Juno Beach, in Normandy, on June 22, 1944 and were involved in many actions.

On August 10, the Royal Tanks were in support in a wooded area near Vermont with ‘C’ squadron tanks supporting the infantry and resistance stiffened as the squadron attempted to clear the wood.

Heavy mortar fire forced the infantry back.

Prior to this, ‘C’ squadron had run over a mine field and Sergeant Phillips had received a hand injury which required medical treatment.

On August 10 he was attending a field dressing station when it came under fire. He was in a lorry about to leave the area when it was hit by a mortar round. Sergeant Thomas was killed, aged 36, leaving a widow and a five-year-old son. He is buried in Normandy alongside his comrades who fell.

At the end of the war Margaret decided to remain in Kirkgate with her son and lived there until her death in August 1999.

Derek, who went to school in Settle, remained there until 2004 when he married and moved to Scotland.

Mr Taylor said: “I already knew that Sergeant Phillips’ name was not on the war memorial in Settle, nor on one in his home city.

“I decided, with agreement from Derek, that I would see if it would be possible to have it included on the Settle memorial and got in touch with the town council who said they would put the request on the council agenda for discussion.

“I believe Sergeant Phillips will be a worthy addition to the memorial as the soldier called the town his new home and many there will remember his son and will have gone to school with him.”