Samuel Turner Phillips passed away on 29 November 1969 aged 82. 


The Federation endeavours to remember all those who served in a fire service on the Island and as such the work of Samuel Turner Phillips as a station cook fully deserves to be remembered, but in researching his life a far greater period of service to the nation has emerged.

Samuel was born in Shanklin on 9 February 1887. His father William was a dairyman and his mother Alice cared for him and his siblings who in the 1901 Census were Elizabeth (9) and James (3). At the time Samuel was 14 and working as a carrier.

In 1910 he married Rosie Rachel Fleming in Brading but the Census of a year later finds him living at an address at 109 Queen Street, Portsea with ten others. Samuel is listed as a lodger working as a Leading Stoker. Of the others in the dwelling, whose head is listed as a restaurant keeper, two others are Able Seamen and the fourth a Corporal of Royal Marines.

Samuel joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on 16 May 1904. His first posting was to Pembroke I, a stone ship, or land base in Chatham. He served on well over twenty different land and ship based postings until the last entry in his service records dated 31 March 1923. In that nineteen year period he travelled to several places across the world. However in reporting his death the County Press claimed he transferred to HM Coastguard in 1914 and spent the war period at Littlehampton. This doesn't match his service records which confirms Littlehampton in that year but by then he was a Leading Stoker of the Royal Navy, service number 230687. His service both with the RN and Coastguard ended in 1930 when stationed at Bexhill-on-sea. At this stage he returned to the Island and was employed by the Ryde Corporation as assistant and then head of beach inspectors. 

When the Ryde section of the Auxiliary Fire Service was formed in 1939 and Edward Street Temporary Fire Station was established in the requistioned Stainers Dairy Yard, Samuel offered to serve as station cook and continued in this role throughout the war. It was he who was the sole person at the station through the early hours of 5 May 1942, preparing hot tea and butties for when the firemen returned from the most horrendous experience of their firefighting lives. He filled their mugs with tea amid the silent realisation that two of their number hadn't returned from the action. 

Following the war he returned as beach inspector until retiring in 1956 to care for his wife who's health was failing. She passed away soon after.

Samuel passed away at St Mary's Hospital leaving his two married daughters.

Rest in peace Station Cook, Leading Stoker Phillips.