Joe Philips Memorial Seat

Sedgemoor DC press release


New seat at Ashton Windmill site in memory of Joe Phillips, wartime evacuee to Chapel Allerton.

A new seat has been donated by an American family to Ashton Windmill at Chapel Allerton, between Weare and Wedmore, in memory of Joe Phillips who was a war time evacuee to Chapel Allerton.

Members of his family, including his daughter and granddaughter, will be visiting Ashton Windmill from the USA, will be at the Windmill site to celebrate Joe’s life and commission the new seat at 3 p.m. on Monday 22nd June.

The family approached Sedgemoor District Council about the possibility of making a donation for the Windmill site to Joe’s memory, as he always held fond memories of the place from his childhood. The Council is very grateful to the family for their generous gift, which will benefit many visitors to the Windmill.

Joe Phillips died in California in January 2008. Ashton Windmill was a place he loved: “No one truly leaves this place who loved it so” is inscribed on the seat.
The new seat - some information about Joe Phillips

The Phillips children were evacuated to Chapel Allerton in the early years of the Second World War and the family stayed on after the War was over. Joe emigrated to Canada in 1956 and then followed a distinguished career in aviation engineering there and in the United States.
Joe was born in 1932 in London, the ninth of eleven children. At the time of the London blitz, all the children were evacuated first to East Anglia, and then Chapel Allerton, where their parents came to join them. The family loved the countryside so much that they stayed on after the War was over. Joe went to the local two-room school and then attended Sexey’s School at Blackford, before entering an apprenticeship at the Bristol Aeroplane Company and Bristol College of Technology, where he obtained an HNC in Mechanical Engineering.

In 1956, Joe emigrated to Canada and became an engineer with Rolls-Royce in Montreal, then moved to Calgary to teach maths and physics at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. In 1965 he moved into the USA to Seattle to work for the Boeing Company, in 1975 to Rockford, Illinois, to work for Sundstrand Aviation, and in 1977 to Los Angeles to work for Garrett AiResearch. In 1988 he founded Aircraft Environmental Systems, an aerospace engineering firm which he operated for almost 20 years.

Joe possessed a rare combination of analytical and practical engineering knowledge and skills. In his long career, he conceptualised, analysed, designed, and built many environmental and thermal systems for aircraft, spacecraft and ground equipment applications. His work now flies daily on commercial and military airplanes and helicopters around the world, as well as in customised advanced development aircraft.

Joe also had tremendous creative energy, imagination, language skills, musical sensibility, and wit. He loved all creatures great and small, and said that he felt privileged to have had the opportunity to experience life on this planet.

Joe Phillips died in California in January 2008. Ashton Windmill was a place he loved: “No one truly leaves this place who loved it so” is inscribed on the seat.
Information provided by his widow, Catha Paquette