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The Airmen's Stories - P/O E R Phillips


Ernest Russell Phillips was born on 5th July 1911, the son of Frank Phillips, a barrister, and Mabel Phillips (nee Fish) of Twickenham, Middlesex.

ER Phillips was working as a bank cashier in Twickenham when he joined the RAFVR in August 1939 as an Airman u/t Observer.

Called up on 1st September, he completed his training, was commissioned and went to No.1 (Coastal) OTU, Silloth in late July 1940. He joined 235 Squadron on 14th August.

Phillips was killed on 14th February 1941, still serving with the squadron.

Bristol Blenheim IVf, serial V5431 (LA-T) was attempting to land at RAF Langham after a night cross-country flight from RAF Bircham Newton. The aircraft made a bad approach to RAF Langham and attempted to go round again, but flew into the ground and caught fire. The crash seriously injured the pilot (P/O Chamberlain) and slightly injured the Air Gunner (Sgt. Burns).

The court of enquiry gave the cause of the crash as either (a) the pilot held the aircraft down to gain more speed, or (b) the pilot pulled up the flaps before gaining sufficient height.– the instruments indicated that the flaps were down but the flap lever was in the up position.

Phillips was 28 years old and is buried in St Mary's churchyard, Great Bircham, Norfolk.





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