The Timeline so far is...
1889 - estimated DOB for David John Phillips born in Llanelli to John & Margaret (source census returns)
1891 – estimated DOB for David John Phillips, RNVR, Wales Division (source WW1 service record)
1891 – Census for Llanelli Family lived at ?1 Tregob, Llanelli. Siblings: Margaret A; Mary E; Hannah M; Jessie J; Katie M; Blowden
1901 – Census for Llanelli contains a Phillips family living at 15 Woodend Road, near Swansea Road
1911 – Census for Llanelli contains a Phillips family living at 15 Woodend Road, near Swansea Road
- Father:John Phillips;
- Mother: Margaret Phillips
- Son: David Phillips, age 22, groom [Dai?]
- Dau: Hannah Phillips, age 18;
- Dau: Blodwin Phillips, age 5 [Blodie?]
- Dau: Katie Phillips, age 10
1911 – Census for Kirkwall contains a Johnstone family living in Garden Buildings near Bridge Street
- Father: John Johnstone, 49, Plumber, born Halkirk, Caithness
- Mother: Jane P Johnstone, 50, born Wick, Caithness
- Dau: Mary J Johnstone, 22, born Wick, Caithness
- Dau: Cath I C Johnstone, 14, born Wick, Caithness
1914 - Outbreak of WW1
1914 – Birth in BMD Records Ethel Jayne to Jessie J Phillips & Edwin W Jayne.
1914-1918 – Residence An Orkney resident’s grandfather billeted with a family in Bridge Street during WW1. Later, this grandfather married one of the daughters, Mary Jane Johnstone.
Photograph of Bridge Street by Tom Kent, c.1904 (Reference TK3253)
1916 – WW1 Service Record David John Phillips No.Z/3130; DOB 15 August 1891; Fruiterer; Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, Wales Division; Height 5ft 4in; Eyes Hazel; Served on HMS Cyclops [depot & repair ship based Scapa Flow] Sep 1916-Nov 1917.
1916/7 - Blue Jacket Boy wrote letter home to Llanelli from Orkney. It was never delivered.
1919 – Marriage Johnston Family Website Catherine Isabella Coghill BELLA Johnston b. 1896 Wick, Caithness + David John Phillips, fruiterer, RNVR HMS Cyclops, b. at Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales m. 11 Apr 1919 Congregational Manse, Kirkwall
1919 – Marriage in ScotlandsPeople BMD website David John Phillips, 30, fruiterer, 61 Swansea Road, Llanelly married Catherine Isabella Coghill Johnston, Garden Street, Kirkwall 11 April 1919 in the Congregational Manse, Kirkwall
1919 – WW1 Service Record Discharged 5 May 1919 at Pembroke.
1920 – Electoral Register for Llanelli John, Margaret and David J Phillips all live at 61 Swansea Road.
1923 – Birth from Johnston Family Website Minnie Phillips b. abt Mar 1923 Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales
1923 – Birth in BMD Records Minnie Phillips born March Quarter 1923 daughter of David John Phillips and Catherine Johnston
c.1920s – Marriage (source Orkney resident) of his grandfather who worked at the Orkney Herald and Mary Jane Johnstone.
1941 – Marriage in BMD Records Ethel Jayne married Clifford Hopkin Hargreaves – no offspring found.
1941 – Marriage in BMD Records Katie M Phillips married Robert L Morgans in Llanelli, 1941 (Oct-Dec quarter)
1943 – Marriage in Johnstone Family Website Miss Phillips + Mr Hodge b. abt Jun 1920 Exeter, Devon m. abt Sep 1943 Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales
1943 – Marriage in FreeBMD website Miss Phillips married Mr Hodge in Llanelly registration district, Sep quarter 1943.
1952 – Birth in FreeBMD website Miss Hodge, mother’s maiden name Phillips, June quarter 1952
c.1960s – Oral History Visit to Phillips family in Llanelli, Wales by Orkney resident and his parents, as they were old family friends (he didn’t know why)
1980 - Letter found behind a fireplace in a house in Bridge Street, Kirkwall in 1980. Letter addressed to Mr John Phillips, 61 Swansea Road, Llanelli.
2013 – Letter passed to Orkney Archives. The hunt began……
The story has since appeared on Radio Orkney, Llanelli Star and the Dyfed Family History Society Newsletter.
I have removed some of the more recent names for data protection. We are currently trying to get in touch with Miss Hodge, Dai Phillips granddaughter.
- Orkney Family History Society Census booklet for 1911
- Johnstone Family Website https://sites.google.com/site/johnstonsinwallsorkney
- Electoral Roll in Carmarthenshire Archives
- Local Orkney resident
To see the end of the story and the mystery solved, click here.