Mr. Wallace Banta Phillips

Wallace Philips image:  New York World, May 1915. Wallace Phillips was born in Manhattan, New York, United States to Henry W. and Ella Phillips. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1911. Shortly afterwards, Phillips went abroad to become managing director and chairman of the Pyrene Company, Ltd.  As of 1915 his home address was 29 Lefferts Place, Brooklyn, New York. On the Lusitania, Wallace Banta Phillips occupied cabin B-12. He was an admirer of actress Rita Jolivet and was often seen with the "theatrical set" onboard. On the day of the disaster, Phillips was standing in the foyer near the entrance to the B Deck promenade when a woman and two or three children, possibly Dorothy Allen and the Crompton children, rushed in yelling "torpedo!" At the moment of impact, Phillips thought that the "shock to the vessel was considerable." As he watched the unfolding action, an "immense column of water, carrying with it al kinds of debris, shot up from the side of the vessel, and through the promenade deck, so far as I noticed, despite the fact it was a solid wave, it swept right by the open doorways and windows and did not enter the interior of the ship." He was one of the last people to see William Hodges as Hodges was leaving his portside A Deck cabin with lifebelts.  Phillips then crossed over to the starboard side and boarded lifeboat 15.  Lifeboat 15 had a terrible time trying to get away from the ship, and the lifeboat finally got away due to a collapsible sliding off the ship and nudging them forward.  The Marconi aerial fell onto the boat, but the wire snapped and the boat escaped.  When the ship went down, boat 15 was whirled around the vortex a few times and managed to get free. During the First World War, Wallace Phillips served in civilian capacity and assisted in the selection of loactions for airplane bases. In 1940, he was the leader founder of the American Ambulance - Great Britain, which bought and operated 350 ambulances during the Second World War. After the United States declared war in 1941, Wallace Phillips joined "Wild Bill" William J. Donovan in setting up the Office of Coordinator of Information. Phillips served as Director of Special Information Services for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), forerunner of the the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) until 1943 when he was discharged.  Returning to active duty in the United States Navy, on 10 July 1943 Commodore Wallace Banta Phillips was part of a large force of United States, Canadian, and British troops that landed in Sicily.  The whirlwind Allied campaign captured the island by 17 August. After the war, Wallace Phillips became president of the Pyrene Company. He died on 14 April 1952 in New York City at age 66. Contributors: Mike Findlay Paul Latimer Roger Peterson (relative of Wallace Phillips) Michael Poirier Judith Tavares References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith. Seven Days to Disaster. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1981.

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