Phillips, Edwin "Erwin"
Updated: Feb 17
Edwin “Erwin” Phillips (1921–1945) was born in Montreal to Edwin T. and Rachel Phillips, who had come to Canada from the British West Indies. Erwin was one of nine surviving children. All four of the Phillips brothers over the age of 18, including Erwin, enlisted with the Canadian Forces during the Second World War.
At the age of 21, Erwin joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and qualified as an airplane mechanic. Rising to the rank of sergeant, he served on many transatlantic flights during the war.
On November 4, 1945, Erwin was the flight engineer on the “Flying Fortress,” carrying much-needed medical supplies to the devastated population of Poland, when the plane crashed into a hilltop in Germany, killing all five crew members. Erwin and his fellow airmen were grieved not only by their families and their country, but also by Poland, for having given their lives in humanitarian service to the Polish people.