Born in Warrington, Lancashire, England in 1944, and having completed an electrical engineering apprenticeship with the world renowned, ‘Metropolitan Vickers Co Ltd’, in Trafford Park, Manchester, Phil then served four years in the British Merchant Navy, as an Electrical Engineering Officer, travelling mainly to Africa, Australia, the Far East and China.
After joining IBM as a computer engineer in the UK for eleven years, he worked in Bristol for CFM UK as a computer maintenance engineer for two years.
Phil went to live and work in South Africa for sixteen years, initially working on mainframe computers, then changing direction completely to the tourist trade in SA. He became a safari operator, for both wildlife and railways and the photography thereof, these being three of his four passions.
His fourth passion is steam preservation, both on the rails and the road. In SA Phil was instrumental in the start-up of a road steam preservation group called Resteamers, and a rail preservation group. The latter called Reefsteamers was active until about a year ago when it went into liquidation. In the UK Phil is currently the owner of a 12-ton live steam road roller, and having brought it from SA by container, have fully restored it here and run it to rallies and historic events.
Married to Helen, they have:- Two sons: Simon and Richard. Daughter: (Tracy, dec.). Four grandchildren: Cailin and (Shaun, also dec.) – born in South Africa. Tristan and Zach – born in UK. Great granddaughter: Xander – born recently in UK.
Having co-authored three books with Paul Hurley, Phil has authored the book ‘All at sea in the 1960’s’ and ‘A Brush with Road Steam’. He has also written a number of articles for Old Glory magazine, The Road Roller Association, the Journal, and the National Traction Engine Trust magazine, and various South African traction magazines.
Phil has also written articles and provided photographs for The Blue Funnel magazine on maritime issues.