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Memorial to 2nd Lieutenant Joseph Leo Philips

The memorial of Canadian Pilot 2Lt Joseph Leo Philips who died here on 20th July 1917 when his Maurice Farman Shorthorn biplane crash landed.


At about 4.50 am on July 20th 1917 2nd Lt Phillips took off from Snarehill Aerodrome near Thetford in an obsolescent Maurice Farman Shorthorn biplane on his second solo flight, buzzing with excitement and full of confidence, he climbed away from the airfield and flew due east.


It seems that shortly after take-off 2nd Lt Phillips lost sight of the airfield and disappeared from view. His instructor, 2nd Lt Russell went out to look for him at 6 am, 7 am and 9.30 am without success. At 11 am he received a telephone message that 2nd Lt Phillips had landed near Harleston and was badly injured. By the time Russell arrived at the scene at Redenhall, Phillips had already been taken to hospital.


The plane had come down in a field of standing corn and appeared to have turned over completely twice. The position of the controls indicated that the plane was on almost full power when it hit the ground. Fortunately, given the ignition was still on and sparking, the plane did not catch fire.


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