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Hartlepools RAF Hero's

by clevelandcsv

Contributed by 
clevelandcsv
People in story: 
Pilot Officer Edgar Phillips
Location of story: 
Norfolk
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
A4186910
Contributed on: 
13 June 2005

Edgar Phillip's Headstone

Phillips, Edgar Richard. PltOff. RAFVR Pilot. 139 Sqn. 1 May 1941.

The son of Edgar and Mary Phillips of West Hartlepool. He was in command of a Bristol Blenheim based at Horsham St. Faith in Norfolk, when orders came through from Bomber Command in High Wycombe for the 22 strong squadron to make a fourth successive daylight raid on the heavily defended Dan Helder Naval Base in occupied Holland. The first phase of the operation went as planned. Then, as Phillips aircraft dived to deliver a low level attack, in the teeth of a terrific anti-aircraft barrage, he was struck by a piece of shrapnel and seriously wounded. In spite of his injuries, he stayed in control of the aircraft until they were clear of the barrage and then gave way to the Observer, who piloted the aircraft across the North Sea. Unfortunately, as the aircraft arrived at the base, the Observer was unable to land and Phillip’s insisted on taking over control of the aircraft again. Gently, the Observer propped him up in the pilots seat and he brought the aircraft in for a perfect landing. A few hours later Edgar Phillips died in Norwich Hospital. His parents received a message of sympathy from the King and Queen and in his Mention in Despatches the Group Captain wrote, “ Edgar Phillips actions rank among the greatest stories of heroism in the proud record of the RAF.” Aged 22, he is buried in Stranton Cemetery. The gravestone also bears the name of his close friend, who was later also killed in action.

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