Home » Edward (ted) Leigh Phillips 1912 - 2016

Edward (ted) Leigh Phillips 1912 - 2016

Ted Phillips (or Bill as he was known after he left school), who died in September 2016 at the age of 104, is one of the towering figures in the history of our school. A total superstar in sport and life.  Incredibly, he wrote to me at the age of 97 with memories of Mervyn Peake and of hearing Eric Liddell speak to the school after he had won gold in Paris in 1924.  Four pages of neat handwriting.  Quite amazing.  I have an attendance register from 1919 with Liddell and Phillips on the same page - one was 17 and the other 7 - and Phillips was still alive until September 2016.

He was by some way the outstanding sportsman at Eltham College between the wars, Captain of Cricket, Captain of Rugby, Head Boy, Blackheath Cup, Bayard Prize for best influence on other boys – he did everything and won everything.  Then he won an Oxford Blue at Rugby.

He moved to Gloucestershire in 1935, when he became Chaplain of Dean Close School, Cheltenham.  He is well remembered at Gloucester Rugby Club, where he was one of the “Three Clergymen” who played there in the late 1930s; he also played for Gloucestershire when they won the Championship in 1936-37.

When the memorial tablet on the back of the Chapel, dedicated to the OEs who fell in the Second World War, was unveiled at a special service in 1947, it was Phillips who gave the address.  Such lives, he said, were not wasted.  These and their like played their part in keeping for us our cherished freedom.  He knew what he was talking about, as a Padré to the Paras who had been taken as a prisoner of war at Arnhem in September 1944.

At a church service in Gloucestershire about 10 years ago, Bill keeled over while preaching and fell to the floor.  Oh well, the congregation thought, he would have wanted to go like that, and 94 is a good innings. But then he got up and carried on.

He leaves five children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  A truly outstanding man.  We will not see his like again.

Mark Stickings
Eltham College Archivist

Further Obituaries

Written by his Daughter, Magda Phillips https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/22/bill-phillips-obituary

From the Parachute Regiment https://paradata.org.uk/people/rev-edward-l-phillips