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Philip
Philip's Roots - Page 2

Philip Healey 1928 - 2000

Philip had 3 brothers Reg, Keith and Trevor. He also had 3 sisters Patricia, Noreen and Alethea. Keith died aged 2.

When they lived in Coventry Philip had a newspaper round, along with his brother Reg. He remembers being in a street, near the Standard Car factory, with Reg when Stucka dive bombers came in, the noise of their sirens was deafening, they put their paper bags over their heads and dropped to the road, as they peered out they could see the bullets ripping up the tarmac like heavy rain drops landing on water.

As evacuees they went to school, in Bagthorpe where they were taunted for being outsiders and having funny accents. Money was tight and Philip remembers walking 2 miles home at lunchtime only to trudge back to school having eaten nothing.

Alethia did all she could, she kept hens, took in lodgers and carried on Granny Smith's practice of making her own medicines.

There were many building sites and Philip, along with his friends, played on these sites. At one time they were playing on a little diesel train; they managed to start it only to find they could not stop it. They all held on as it ran away with them before jumping off just before it ran out of track and crashed down the embankment. He had a bad scar on his right arm; he and his friends had constructed a huge see-saw then, while he was at the top, the girl on the other end got off and he plummeted to the ground. He was very lucky; they only just managed to save his arm.

Philip joined the ATC and stowed away on a Lancaster Bomber. He was discovered when it dived, he had no seat belts and was thrown up into the air. Before landing they flew over his house which was near the 'Hole in the Wall' pub in Underwood. He was thrown out of the ATC for this.

On leaving school Philip started a sheet metal worker apprenticeship at Rolls Royce but had to leave when he was conscripted into the RAF.

He was stationed at Catterick, one night they were stuck in Darlington with no way of getting to the camp on time so they stole a Fire Engine.

One of the punishments he was given was polishing chains, link by link.

He was a member of the Guard of honour at the Queen's Wedding.

On leaving the RAF his father dared him to go down the mines, so he did.

Philip married LOTTIE FLINT 4 September 1948 in Brinsley, Nottinghamshire, daughter of JOSEPH FLINT and ELSIE WARDEL.

She was born 19 July 1929 in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.


Philip became a contractor in charge of a coal cutting team. He managed two shifts a day, seven days a week for a long time. The money was very good but he was exhausted. When he tried to bring it down to one shift they sent a lorry round to pick him up. One day he sent the lorry back, he was exhausted. He felt bad that his team were waiting for him, with nothing to do, so he walked down to the pit, arriving a couple of hours late. The manager was really annoyed and told Philip to get down the pit and that he would have the time docked from his pay. Philip said no, if he was going down the pit he wanted to be paid for the full shift, the manager refused and Philip left the office, only to be called back and told he could have his pay. Philip was a very determined man. Eventually the very long hours got to him and he wanted excitement so he joined the Ilkeston Mines Rescue Station in 1954.

He loved walking and completed the Lyke Wake walk with his brother-in-law, Bob Martin, and a friend Dominic.

In 1975 he was too old for the service and had to leave.

Philip became an instrument mechanic at Ratcliff Power Station where he was introduced to model making. He made a flint lock pistol and a miniature traction engine before finding clocks.
He loved reading about clocks, looking at clocks, repairing them and making them.

Philip was not happy away from the mines and eventually became Fire Officer at Pye Hill.

After overseeing a serious fire at the pit he had two heart attacks and was invalided out of the service. It was not long before the pit too was retired.

Philip then became a serious clock maker.

Philip went to Wales for years and became very close friends with Hew and Helen Roberts, he was known locally as 'Philip the Clock'.


His youngest brother Trevor worked in various mines around Ilkeston, Pinxton, Underwood, Pye Hill, Moorgreen (black shale & waterloo seams).

He had a son Christopher Healey who was an apprentice at Moorgreen workshops as a welder before going underground for 2 years in the black shale seam. They both had the same Overman, Codger Henshaw, who was the father of Steve Henshaw who was tragically killed at the ISLE OF MAN TT Races in the early 1970’s.

Thanks to Chris Healey for the information on Trevor, his dad.