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Sir Tom Spencer Vaughan Phillips KCB


HMS Prince of Wales


Admiral Thomas Phillips KCB

Admiral Phillips and his staff wait as HMS Prince of Wales docks in Singapore on the 2nd December 1941

Thomas Phillips was born in 1888. He entered the Royal Navy in 1903, he raised through the officer ranks and was appointed as assistant director of the plans division in 1932 and three years later was promoted to director.
Just prior to the outbreak of the World War Two, he was appointed Vice Chief of Naval Staff.
He held strong opinions and regularly clashed with Winston Churchill.
He was eventually promoted to Admiral and given command of the Eastern Fleet and sent to support Allied forces in Singapore.

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Service History
Date Rank Event
19th Feb 1888 Born
Educated at Stubbington House, Fareham
1903 Entered Royal Navy - trained at HMS Britannia
15th Jul 1907 A/Sub Lt
9th Apr 1908, (seniority 15th Jul 1907)
Sub Lt
20th Jul 1909, (seniority 15th Jul 1908) Lt
1914 to 1919 Served European War
15th Jul 1916 Lt Cdr
1917 A/Capt
1919 to 1920 RN Staff College
1920 to 1922 Served on Permanent Advisory Commission for Naval, Military, and Air Questions, Geneva
30th Jun 1921 Cdr
30th Jun 1927 Capt CB - 11th May 1937
4th Sep 1928 to Aug 1929 Captain (D) 6th Flotilla - HMS Campbell (destroyer)
24th Apr 1930 to Sep 1932 Assistant Director of Plans, Admiralty (HMS President)
21st Sep 1932 to Jul 1935 Flag Captain, HMS Hawkins (cruiser) &  Chief of Staff to Commander-in-Chief, East Indies
8th Aug 1935 to 1938 Director of Plans, Admiralty
1938 to 1939 Commodore Commanding the Home Fleet Destroyer Flotillas
1938 to 1939 Naval ADC to the King
10th Jan 1939 R Adm
1st Jun 1939 to Dec 1941 A Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty and Deputy (later: Vice) Chief of Naval Staff
7th Feb 1940 A/V Adm
May 1941 to 10th Dec 1941 Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Fleet - HMS Prince of Wales (He was appointed in May but actually took command in Dec 1941)
1941 A/Adm KCB - 1st July1941- HM's birthday 41
10th Dec 1941 Far East (KIA) - Plymouth Naval Memorial


Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:

In Memory of
H.M.S. Prince of Wales, Royal Navy
who died on
Wednesday 10 December 1941. Age 53 . 
Additional Information: Son of Colonel Thomas Vaughan Wynn Phillips, Royal Artillery, and Louisa Mary Adeline de Horsey Phillips.
Husband of Lady Phillips, of Bude, Cornwall. 
Cemetery: PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL Devon, United Kingdom 
Grave or Reference Panel Number: Panel 44, Column 2.