It was late spring – early summer of 2011, the meeting had just finished and a few of St. Patrick’s stalwarts were having a quiet cuppa and a chat when the hall door opened, and in came a couple who enquired whether they might have a look around the church. Fred immediately offered to show them round and answer any questions they might have.
Stanley Philo in uniform
Upon their returning from
looking at the church I was chatting with the lady who explained that they
had been visiting locally from Watford and seeing the church door open
came in. During the conversation it transpired that she was no stranger to St.
Patrick’s having, as a child, attended Sunday worship and that the flag that
used to be in the church was in memory of her uncle. Before she left I
offered to send her a copy of the Church History which had been produced in
1990, the year of the church’s Golden Jubilee.
On having, finally, got round to copying the revised edition of the history, I
sent it enclosing also a copy of the article that appeared in our newsletter
2009 plus some further details provided by our President from the internet and
a covering letter in which I expressed regret that we did not have a
photograph of her uncle Stanley.
I then received a letter from the niece of Stanley Philo in which she expressed
her delight at receiving so much information about the church and of her uncle
saying that she had been christened in St. Patrick’s in the time of the
Reverend Basil Hazeldene and now he was in his 90’s living in Stafford.
Indeed with the letter was a copy of a photograph of her uncle and a transcript
of a newspaper cutting too fragile and indistinct to copy. So, after many years
of wondering, we now know exactly how the flag came to be hung on the
chancel wall in St. Patrick’s Church, Blake Avenue, Barking.
But that is not the end of the story. Oh no! In March I received a letter from
the Local Studies Librarian informing me that she had received an E-mail from a
lady in Canada, who said that she was a second-cousin to Stanley Philo on his
mother’s side of the family, she had apparently read my article that had
appeared in the 2009 Newsletter, and would like to contact me and Tony Harris
who was mentioned in the said article, as she had family photographs of
Stanley, one with his sisters at five weeks old, the other at the age of
As I had no contact with Tony Harris, having received my information from a
third party, straight away I telephoned Stanley’s niece and gave her the gist
of what I had and she said she would contact her cousin Tony Harris and tell
him the news as he would be as delighted as she. She also informed me
there were residing in Canada other members of the family whom she would also
Unfortunately I never succeeded in getting the flag replace to its rightful
position in the chancel, but feel that my endeavours, ably assisted by the
Local Studies Librarian, Linda Rhodes; and our President, Bill George, achieved
something greater, the re-uniting of members of a family.
Transcript from the Barking
Advertiser, Saturday August 26th 1950
Mr. and Mrs. Philo of
Wedderburn Road presented the 1 st Barking Scouts with a St. George’s Flag
in memory of their son, Patrol Leader Stanley Philo who lost his life
serving with the RAF in 1945. He was a member of the troop.
The flag was accepted on behalf of the Troop by Mr. Dance, Acting Scoutmaster,
and also in attendance were group and District officers of the Scouts, and
representatives of the Parents’ Committee.
The dedication of the flag will take place on Sunday, 10 th September at St.
Patrick’s Church at 3 o’clock. Former associates of P/L Philo will be welcome
at the service.