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3/442 Private Philip Sydney Roots - New Zealand Medical Corp
 
Philip Sydney Roots was born on 3rd December 1889 in Sussex, England the son of Mr Henry Arthur Roots, Hove, Sussex.[i]
 
Philip like a number of other young single men was recruited in England and Scotland to fill positions in Mental Institutes throughout New Zealand. Philip arrived in New Zealand about 1910 as he played representative soccer (Association Football) for Wellington in 1911 – 1914[ii]  and also played soccer for the Porirua Mental Hospital team. Philip Sydney Roots was the captain of the Porirua Mental Hospital team that in 1913 won the Charity Cup and were runners up in
the Wellington Championship
 
Hospital AFC team 1913  - Philip Sydney Roots-middle second row.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Six of the players from the team served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) [iii]
 
On 21st October 1914 Philip Roots was one of nine men[iv] from Porirua Mental Hospital to enlist in the New Zealand Medical Corps. Six of the men were from the Hospital team and their recruitment officer was Major McKillop who they worked for when he was Doctor McKillop the Superintendant of the Porirua Asylum. Major McKillop had also played with the Porirua Mental Hospital soccer team.  
 
The new recruits were trained at Trentham where 3/442 Private Roots, Mounted Ambulance was promoted to Corporal before going overseas on 14th December 1914 with the 2nd Reinforcements Medical Corps, Mounted Field Ambulance. Corporal Roots arrived in Egypt in January 1915 and on joining the main body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces (NZEF) Corporal Roots reverted to the rank of private and was transferred from Mounted to the Field Ambulance as
New Zealand units prepared for the landings in the Dardanelles, Turkey. Private Roots sailed with the Field Ambulance,
on 12th April 1915, for the landings at Gallipoli.[v]
 
Also sailing with the Field Ambulance and from Porirua were Privates Heath, Foster, Munro, Topham, Walsh and
Lance Corporal Singleton[vi]. Private Roots served at ANZAC Cove with the Field Ambulance till 22 August 1915 when he was transferred as a Sapper to the Signals Company of the New Zealand Engineers. Sapper Roots remained at ANZAC until 24th October 1915 when he was shipped to Lemmos Island, Greece for rest. Sapper Roots remained at Lemmos
for a month, two weeks of it spent in hospital with influenza, before returning to ANZAC Cove. Sapper Roots would
remain at ANZAC Cove for a week before he was evacuated, 12 December 1915, on the Hospital Ship HS Oxfordshire
with bronchitis to the NZ General Hospital in Cairo, Egypt.  
 
Following recovery Sapper Roots was attached to New Zealand
General Hospital and remained in Cairo until June 1916 when
the hospital transferred on 13th September 1916 to
Brockenhurst, England.  Sapper Roots remained with the
NZ General Hospital, Brockenhurst being promoted to Corporal
on 11th January 1918.


Corporal Roots and Sister Smith on a picnic trip 

 
Philip Sydney Roots married Dorothy F K Humphries in June
1919[vii] and it is possible that the couple returned together to
New Zealand in September 1919 when Corporal Roots was
repatriated.
 
Corporal Roots was discharged on 5th December 1919 he had served
5 years and 49 days with the NZEF.
 
Philip initially returned to work at Porirua Mental Hospital but may have
received land in the Returned Servicemen’s ballot as he was playing soccer
in Gisborne in 1920 and his medals were sent to him there in 1921.
 
Philip his wife and any family did not remain in New Zealand both Philip and Dorothy are recorded as dying in Gosport, England in 1967.[viii]  
 
Philip’s Gallipoli Shield was released to a close relative in 2012.  
 
References:
Archway Archives New Zealand - Military Files: 3/442 Corporal Philip Sydney Roots
Mental about Wests
Papers past Online
NZ BDM Online
UK BDM Online
 
Photos:
1913 Porirua Mental Hospital winners Charity Shield: Pataka Museum
1913 Porirua Menatl Hospital (cropped) C Russell: Patala Museum
Phil Roots and Sister Smith in England: Auckland Cenotaph Database 
Text & background - postcard entrance N0 1 General Hospital England - private collection
 
[i] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/422 Private Philip Sydney Roots
[ii] Crazy about Wests: List of Wellington Association Football representatives who also played for the Porirua Hospital team.
[iii] NZEF Members in the 1913 Hospital AFC team : H Heath, G Hughes, P S Roots, C Russell, W Skinner, J Willis.
[iv] Porirua Hospital staff enlisting: J Alexander*, H Heath*, A Foley*, H Foster, K Munro, P S Roots*, W Skinner*, A Topham,  F Walsh* (* AFC player)
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/422 Private Philip Sydney Roots
[vi] Archway Archives New Zealand Military files: 3/411 Henry Heath, 3/401 Herbert Foster, 3/460 Francis William Walsh, 3/445 Arthur Harold Topham, 3/426 Kenneth Munro, 3/97 Wilfred Singleton
[vii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 3/422 Private Philip Sydney Roots
[viii] UK Free BDM: Roots Dorothy FK & Roots Philip
 
 
No 1 General Hospital