Battle of Britain London Monument – Sgt PA Burnell-Phillips

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Privacy Statement The Airmen’s Stories – Sgt. P A Burnell-Phillips


Peter Anthony Burnell-Phillips was born in Richmond, Surrey and educated at St George’s School, Weybridge. He joined the RAF on a short service commission in February 1936. After completing his flying training at Cranwell, he joined 54 Squadron at Hornchurch, later moving to 65 Squadron.

Burnell-Phillips was obliged to resign his commission on 1st February 1939 for infringement of flying discipline when, for a bet, he flew at rooftop height along the main street of Crowborough, Sussex.

He joined the RAFVR on 20th April 1939 and was called up on 16th October. Burnell-Phillips was posted to 607 Squadron at Usworth in July 1940. He claimed two He111’s destroyed on 15th August and he shot down a Do17 on 9th September. In the latter engagement, his engine seized and he made a forced-landing near Knockholt in Hurricane P2912. Burnell-Phillips was slightly wounded by a bullet in the ankle.

On 26th September he forced a Do17 to crash into the sea by making mock attacks, his ammunition having been exhausted. He also claimed a Me110 destroyed on 30th September and shared a He111 on 4th October. Burnell-Phillips was awarded the DFM (gazetted 1st November 1940), credited with at least five victories.

He was commissioned in November 1940 but was killed in a flying accident on 9th February 1941 when his Hurricane I W9189 spun into the ground at Haddington, East Lothian. He was 24.

He is buried in Dirleton Cemetery, Peebleshire.

Burnell-Phillips’ portrait was done by Cuthbert Orde in February 1941.

Although he came from Richmond he must have had strong connections to Crowborough in view of the low-flying incident and the fact that he is commemorated there on the war memorial at All Saints Church.




The crash site was developed and a road was named after him in 2017.



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