Learnt to fly in 1928, then was an airline pilot, circus joy-ride pilot and instructor.
prev. exp. 1,150hrs
Address in 1940: Dayton, OH
Postings: 3FPP, 6FPP
Seconded to Atfero 20 Mar 1941
He was offered an extension to his 1-yr contract, but declined: "It is purely a matter of finances as I have enjoyed working for your organisation."
d. 14 Aug 1941 (Died in ATA Service) - one of four ATA pilots, travelling as passengers, amongst the 22 killed in the crash of Liberator AM260. Others were Elbert Anding (M.316), Buster Trimble (M.112) and Martin Wetzel.
The cause of the crash was that "the pilot in command [Cpt Richard Charles Stafford of BOAC] started the take off procedure from runway 06 which was not suitable for the takeoff as it was too short for such aircraft."
Philip's widow Nell Cole Lee was also, like Mrs Anding, convinced that BOAC or Atfero was responsible by negligence for his death, and in fact threatened to sue them for damages. The situation was not cleared up until 1943, when the British Government agreed to provide her with an ex-gratia payment of $8,000, of which $2,000 was invested for her 2 children (Helen Cole Lee and Francis, who was born after Philip's death).
She then wrote, "May I offer you my sincere thanks and appreciation for the grant. While it is true that the death of my husband did not leave me in dire straits, it is also true that my children will not have all the advantages in life that they would have had had he lived."
The official ATA report summed it up in November 1944: "Thus, a case which had developed a very unpleasant atmosphere, and might well have left an unhealed focus of bitter anti-British sentiment, was concluded on an entirely satisfactory note."