We received a very nice note from the daughter of Captain James McPhillips who served with the 6th Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in Tunisia and Italy during 1943/44, suffering wounds on two occasions. In the note to us, Angela Gawthorpe told us:
“I have just watched part 5 of ‘All my Brothers’. Thank you so much for making these films.
My father didn’t speak about his war time experiences really so I have very little direct knowledge although he is mentioned a few times in the war diaries and I have his military records.
My father, Captain (then subsequently T/Major James Justin McPhillips) did tell a story of how Noel Coward was supposed to be entertaining the troops but his arrival was delayed so my father, who was very musical, took over and began the concert, playing the piano and singing with the troops until Noel Coward arrived ! I wonder if there is a record of this anywhere?
Dad was born in Belfast in 1910 and Mum was a doctor, born in Cork. They went to Tanzania in 1948 and he became a Barrister whilst in Africa – allied to Gray’s Inn London. The family returned to Belfast in 1967 and Dad worked in Manchester and Newcastle before the family moved from Belfast to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1969. He was Knighted (Knight Commander of Saint Sylvester) by Pope Pius XII for the work he did for the Catholic Church in Tanzania.
Dad’s family came from Co Monaghan originally and he taught for a while in Kilrush, co Clare when he was 19 and this lovely tribute was in the book ‘Christian Brothers Kilrush 1874-1974’, the year that he died.
You are doing great work. I look forward to watching all the films and gaining further knowledge. Your father was a special person as well.
My father is much missed – he was a wonderful father of nine children!!”
Nec Aspera Terrent.
Faugh a Ballagh !