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M. E. Comp. W.H.Phillips 28° DGK 1911 - 1921
M.E. Companion Phillips had long been an enthusiastic mason and had served a useful apprenticeship in the affairs of Royal Arch Masonry as Deputy Provincial Grand Superintendent from 1903 and in 1910 had been nominated by M.E. Companion Crossle as Deputy Grand First Principal. He was therefore the natural choice as Grand First Principal on the death of M.E. Companion Crossle. He was installed in that office on the constitution of District Grand Chapter on 24th February, 1911, and presided over its affairs till his lamented death on 5th April, 1921. He appointed M.E. Companion Samuel G. Fenton, J.P., Banbridge, as his Deputy.
M.E. Companion Phillips was principal of the firm of Messrs. Phillips & Jones of Garfield Factory, Albert Street, Belfast, Clothing Manufacturers, and was also chairman of directors of Leahy, Kelly & Leahy, Castle Place, Belfast. He lived at “Craigower”, University Road, Belfast.
His masonic roots were at Holywood, in Lodge 381 and Chapter 254.His place in the affection of the Companions was shown when on 21st June, 1917, he was presented with a miniature sceptre as a token of esteem and gratitude.
The progress of the new District Chapter under his guidance can be seen from the rapid growth of new Chapters during that period from 32 to 64.
Great as his interest was in and services to Royal Arch Masonry, M.E. Companion Phillips did not confine himself solely to this Order, as he was the representative of the Grand Lodge of Georgia at the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
He was an enthusiastic supporter and zealous advocate of the Masonic Charities and did much to promote their interests and success.
His funeral to Holywood Parish Church was the largest seen in that area in living memory and the flying of the Union Jack at half mast from the maypole typified the genuine grief of the inhabitants at the passing of one who had served the community so well.
His widow later presented his Grand First Principal’s chain of office for use by his successors as a memorial to her late husband.