Douglas Boganny Phipps





"My grandfathers parentage was, for the most part, a mystery as I was growing up, although with some forethought he'd been given the middle name Boganny, which years later helped in identifying his father, his birth certificate gave no male parent details. We were brought up with a family story, that told us his father had been an acrobat, a circus performer of American blood, who'd appeared before Royalty. Douglas was fostered out when still a baby and that Mr. Boganny provided for his welfare, upkeep and schooling until he left full time education. Around that time Douglas met his father for the first and only time, at the Wood Green Empire or maybe the Holborn Empire Theatre, London, presumably to discuss possible career options and when it became apparent a life touring in showbusiness was not for my grandfather."


Born on 25th July 1905 at 5, Quick Road, Chiswick, Brentford, West London son of Harriet Phipps (1878-1950) of London and the Music Hall Artiste Joe Boganny (1874-1943). 

Baptised Douglas Boganny Phipps at St. Anne, Tollington Park, Finsbury, London on 30 Sep 1906, son of Harrietta Phipps, abode 56, Fonthill Road, Finsbury. By then Douglas was already fostered out to David Simmons (1855-1933) and his second wife Louisa nee Webb (1856-1920) who lived at the same address at the England Census of 1901. 


Douglas was admitted to Harvey Road Temporary School, Islington on 23 Aug 1909, of 4, Poole's Park Villas, Finsbury and transferred to Shelbourne Road School, Holloway, London on 21 Jan 1910. At the 2 Apr 1911 Census was residing at 4, Gordon Road, Enfield and recorded as Douglas Simmons, birth place left blank.


In 1920 his step mother Louisa Simmons died and Douglas went to live with his step sister Charlotte Maria 'Lottie' nee Simmons (1884-1945) and her husband Elijah, known as 'Bob' Balenger (1877-1946) who cared for him in Edmonton until their deaths. 


On 21 Sep 1926 Douglas signed up for seven years service with the Grenadier Guards at Mill Hill, Barnet, London and on completion of his duty was transferred to Section 'B' Army Reserve Force for a further five years until termination of his engagement 'with good character' on 20 Sep 1938. 

His service during WW2 saw him stationed in Malta for a time, then he joined an Army Anti-Aircraft Division patrolling the Thames Estuary where he remained until demobilisation between 1945-1948. 


On 9 May 1931, when a Corporal, 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards of Wellington Barracks, Westminster, Douglas married Lilian Eastwood (1913-1986) at Romford Register Office, Essex.

Father of two, Averil Clare Phipps (1932-2011) and Lt.Col. Douglas 'David' Phipps, MBE., (1934-2021).


In 1951 Douglas was contacted by the Salvation Army who'd been trying to locate him for several months, with news that his birth mother Mrs. Harriet Richardson had died having had no other isue and that he stood to receive a legacy from her estate. Around this time Douglas took on Whelps Farm, Dunton Road, Laindon, Essex and for a while reared saddleback pigs and bred boxer & terrier dogs for show purposes, winning many a cup. 

Was resident in the north London area all his life until in 1970 he and Lilian went to live in Johannesburg, SA, remaining there until ill health brought them back to England in abt.1977.

Died on 20 Jun 1978 at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton, Somerset and was buried at Minehead Cemetery, West Somerset, England.