Edwin Keith Phillips

Edwin Keith Phillips

Wellingborough, Wellingborough Borough, Northamptonshire, England
Death 24 Mar 1944 (aged 14–15)
Yelden, Bedford Borough, Bedfordshire, England
Burial Yelden, Bedford Borough, Bedfordshire, England
Memorial ID 110312152 · View Source
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Civilian casualty of WWII,Edwin and his sister, Monica Ruth Phillips, were killed when a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress bomber belonging to the U.S. Army Air Force's 422nd Bomb Squadron, 305th Bomb Group (Heavy), which crashed on take off from RAF Chelveston, killing the entire crew.Their home was Glebe Farm, Yelden.He was 15 and the son of Walter Alfred Phillips and Hilda M. Phillips [nee Furnell]. Their mother Hilda was carrying a child, Michael, who was later born despite a difficult birth brought about by the trauma of the whole event. The father, Walter Phillips injured himself whilst trying to smash down a window within the house, attempting to rescue his trapped family. The crash sadly also involved the deaths of eight ground personnel from the 1121st Quartermaster Co, whose communal site was located at Yelden village and who were sleeping in a barrack block which the aircraft hit. A further nine ground personnel received serious injuries but somehow survived.

Soon after the crash the N.F.S. crews began to arrive from Rushden, Bedford and other places. The farmer and his wife were taken to Northampton General Hospital but two hours elapsed before two policemen – Constables Gough and Duncan – could remove the bodies of the children.
Little Monica was found on the charred frame of her bed and her brother was on the floor nearby. It was found that a chimney stack had fallen right across the children's bed.

Births Dec 1929
Phillips Edwin K Furnell Wellingbro' 3b 144


No records were kept of where civilians were interred.
The roll of Commonwealth civilian war dead is the official point of commemoration of the 67,000 men, women and children and is now held near St George's Chapel in Westminster Abbey .

Aircraft was a PFF Lead plane, H2x Radar, First Lieutenant [Pilot] William D Sellers and his crew were to fly the plane across to the 401st BG Deenethorpe during the early hours, in readiness for the following day's mission to Schweinfurt [some sources say Frankfurt] A more experienced lead crew would take over once it had arrived at Deenethorpe, to fly the intended mission from Deenethorpe (leading the 401st planes that day).

There were 11 crew which included a trainee Crew Chief, Second Lieutenant [Pilot] David A Rementeria. His job was to re-check the aircraft once arrived at Deenethorpe, and top up the fuel tanks. Upon take off from Chelveston, she was fully loaded with both fuel and bombs ready for the next day's mission.

Crucially, at that time the policy was to use replacement, fresh, crews to ferry aircraft between air bases. Sellers had neither flown a fully loaded plane before, on a night time take off, nor more importantly from a short runway. All those factors played a terrible part in what happened that night. After this, policies for such ferry flights were changed at Chelveston.

Today Forge Gardens stands on the crash site.In May 2009 a service was held in the village church and a tablet recording the names of those who died in the crash was dedicated.
It is said that at certain times of the year the distant drone of a B-17 can be heard in the early dawn hours, and there are also various sightings of ghostly airmen seen around the churchyard and near to the crash site.
Other Crew Members:
1Lt. Jack E. George
2LT. Myer Silber
1Lt. Charles Wesley Leake
T/Sgt. Jessie H. Lehr
S/Sgt. Kenneth I. Mace
T/Sgt. Donald C. Parrish
Sgt. Dale E. Rishel
S/Sgt. Loyde J. Judd
Cpl. Joseph N. A. Grugnale

Service of remembrance and thanksgiving
for the Aircrew, USAF Quartermaster personnel
and civilian children who died during the night of 24th March 1944

St. Mary's Church, Yelden, Bedfordshire, England
2pm, 30th May 2009

Today we commemorate those who lost their lives on 24th March 1944 when a Flying Fortress B17 belonging to the 422nd squadron of the 305th Bomb Group of the 40th Combat Wing of the USAF crashed on take off from Chelveston airfield. Twelve aircrew died, together with eight members of the 1121st Quartermaster Company who were sleeping in their barracks and two children in Yelden. They were:

William D Sellers
Jack E George
Joseph N A Grugnale
Loyde J Judd
Charles W Leake
Jesse H Lehr
Kenneth I Mace
Donald C Parrish
David M Rementeria
Dale E Rishel
Myer Silber

Quartermaster personnel
Frank J Amato
Michael R Arato
Sebastian J Attilio
Arnold N Chipoletti
Edward W Dell
William L Dickerson
Nils S Johnson
Robert P McClain

Keith Phillips aged 14 and his sister Monica aged 4 were killed as they slept at home just behind the cottages on the other side of Church Lane, Yelden.

The words we say together during this service are in bold print

Please stand
Posting the Colours
National Anthem of the United States of America
Oh, say! can you see by the dawn's early light
what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming;
whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night that our flag was still there:
Oh, say! does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

National Anthem of the United Kingdom
God save our gracious Queen,
long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen.
Send her victorious
happy and glorious,
long to reign over us
God save the Queen.

Please kneel or sit once the Honour party have moved to the back of the church

which will end with the Lord's prayer:
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.

Please stand
O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home
Beneath the shadow of thy throne,
thy saints have dwelt secure;
sufficient is thine arm alone,
and our defence is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting thou art God,
to endless years the same
A thousand ages in thy sight
are like an evening gone;
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
will bear us all away;
we fade and vanish, as a dream
dies at the op'ning day.
O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
be thou our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home.

Please sit
by Mike Phillips, brother of Keith and Monica

Reading – High Flight
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of; wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sun-lit silence. Hovering there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air;
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace,
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew
And while, with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee (1922-41)

Joshua 24.14-24
Read by Charles Taylor

At the end of this reading and the next to the bidding
This is the word of the Lord
Please respond
Thanks be to God

Please stand
Psalm 98

1 Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things.
2 His own right hand and his holy arm have won for him the victory.
3 The Lord has made known his salvation; his deliverance has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.
4 He has remembered his mercy and faithfulness
towards the house of Israel, and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
5 Sound praises to the Lord, all the earth;
break into singing and make music.
6 Make music to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the voice of melody.
7 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sound praises before the Lord, the King.
8 Let the sea thunder and all that fills it,
the world and all that dwell upon it.
9 Let the rivers clap their hands and let the hills ring out together before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
10 In righteousness shall he judge the world
and the peoples with equity.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Please sit
Luke 4.16-22
Read by John Wells (former Royal Marine)

A collection will be taken during this service
which will contribute towards the upkeep of this church.

Now thank we all our God,
with hearts and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mother's arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessèd peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven,
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heav'n adore;
for thus it was is now,
and shall be ever more.

Please sit or kneel
Prayers of thanksgiving
led by John Braga

In these prayers to the bidding
We thank You
Please respond
We thank You, O Lord
Prayers of Hope
led by Lt. Col. (ret.) Peter Morgan (Royal Engineers)

In these prayers to the bidding
Lord in your mercy
Please respond
Hear our prayer

Act of Remembrance
Please stand and turn to face the back right hand side of the church

Unveiling and Blessing of the plaque which commemorates the 20 USAF personnel who died at about 1am on 24th March 1944

Reading of the names
The names of all the USAF personnel who we commemorate today are read by a member of the USAF and a member of the UK Air Training Corp
Words of remembrance
Spoken by Col. Cashdollar (USAF)

Let us remember before God, and commend to his sure keeping those whose names have just been read,
those who have died for their country in war;
those whom we knew, and whose memory we treasure;
and all who have lived and died in the service of humanity.

Silence for one minute

Last Post and Reveille

Years shall not weary them nor the years condemn
but at the going down of the sun and in the morning
we shall remember them.
We shall remember them.

Act of commitment
Will you remember all who were killed
for the sake of freedom, justice and peace?
With the help of God, we will

Will you honour all who bear the pains and adversities of war?
With the help of God, we will

Will you offer them your help and support,
and protect their dignity and welfare?
With the help of God, we will

Will you remember the cause
for which they endured adversity and for which many fought and died,
by promoting peace, justice and harmony among all people?
With the help of God, we will

Will you always acknowledge how precious are the gifts
which God has entrusted to us,
and exercise the freedoms and opportunities you have
with gratitude and humility?
With the help of God, we will

May Almighty God, who has given us the will to undertake these things, give us also the strength to perform them: for his name's sake.

Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the Lord.
He is tramping out the vintage
where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He has loosed the fateful lightning
of his terrible swift sword.
His truth is marching on.
Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
Glory, glory hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen him in the watchfires
of a hundred circling camps.
They have gilded him an altar
in the evening dews and damps.
I can read his righteous sentence
by the dim and flaring lamps.
His day is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet
that shall never sound retreat.
He is sifting out all human hearts
before his judgement seat.
O, be swift my soul to answer him,
be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies
Christ was born across the sea,
with a glory in his bosom
that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make us holy,
let us live that all be free,
whilst God is marching on.


Retreating the colours

The service was led by Lt. Col. Chaplain Rev'd Walter Bean (USAF)and the Rev'd Jan Brookshaw, Rector of the village of Yelden and the Stodden Churches

The ATC was represented by the 858 squadron

The organist was Martin Rhodes

By 3pm please be gathered outside the Church.

Then please make your way down Spring Lane (turn right outside the Church gate) to the village hall where a great village tea awaits you.




  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: geoffrey gillon
  • Added: 10 May 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 110312152
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edwin Keith Phillips (1929–24 Mar 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 110312152, citing St. Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Yelden, Bedford Borough, Bedfordshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .