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Edwin Erwin Phillips

Edwin Erwin Phillips was part of an ill-fated mission to bring aid to Poland after the end of the Second World War

Montréal, Quebec


Second World War


Edwin Erwin Phillips was born in Montréal and worked as a printer's apprentice before volunteering for service with the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1942 during the Second World War. Only 21 years old when he enlisted, he would go on to work as a mechanic with the No. 168 Heavy Transport Squadron and rise to the rank of sergeant. As part of his duties, Phillips would sometimes accompany transatlantic cargo flights.

Polish relief

The eastern European country of Poland had suffered greatly during the Second World War and there was a serious shortage of medical supplies. The Canadian Red Cross donated tons of penicillin in response to the humanitarian crisis there after the end of the war and the military agreed to transport it overseas from Canada.


On November 4, 1945, the Flying Fortress aircraft carrying the vitally needed medicine to Warsaw, Poland, crashed into a hilltop near Halle, Germany, and burst into flames. Phillips and the four other crew members on board were killed in the accident. The fallen Canadian airmen are buried at Munster Heath Cemetery in Germany and are commemorated on the Canada's Air Force Poland Humanitarian Plaque.

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