Philip H. Watson
June 7 1934 - September 11, 2018
Eltham College, MA Oxon (History, Politics, Economics), RCAF, RAF, Litton Systems, Rexdale ON
Born to Harry and Beatrice Watson in Edmonton, north London, England "in the shade of "White Hart Lane football grounds
Married to Valerie (d. 2003) from September 1st 1956, father to Claire, Susan and Hugh. Grandfather to Louise van Beek Rogers (Andrew) and Susan van Beek Tilgaard (Rasmus). Father in Law to William van Beek Rogers. Brother of Ted (d. 2014)(Saydean), Uncle to Geoffrey (Anne, Maddie, Jack) and Tom Watson (USA), Toni (Nick, Paul, Gillian) Standing. Brother in Law to Derek Underdown (Violet d.)(UK), Cousins Joyce, Frank and Peter (UK).
Phil had a very full and varied life in his career with the military. In 1958, he was initially recruited out of Oxford University to come to Canada with Valerie and Claire, to train as a pilot in the Avro Arrow program, which was famously cancelled, but he went on to become a member of Squadron 405 flying long range, armed Maritime patrols over the Atlantic searching for Soviet nuclear submarines during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Based at RCAF Greenwood NS, RCAF Westwin, Winnipeg as a Flight Navigator, then Pilot, continuing his commission with the RAF, Squadron 117. He was a Chief Fighter Controller on Britain's Early Warning System, based at RAF Buchan, Aberdeenshire, RAF Kai Tak, Hong Kong and finally at RAF Boulmer, Northumberland. Saw active peacekeeping duty in Belize. Returning to Canada in 1979 to take up a position with Litton Systems Canada, he worked on the development and sales of guidance systems for various Naval Frigate programs, taking him on business to places such as Halifax, San Diego and Pascagoula. He finally retired when the progress of Valerie's MS needed him to be close to her. They had a life of travel as a military family and enjoyed things like glittering military balls, dressed in their finest!
After Valerie passed, Phil and Hugh were inseparable, forging a new life together; father and son. They travelled a lot; roadtrips to Maine and Washington DC to visit his brother Ted and family, to the UK to visit family, friends (d. Shelagh Brinkman) and old haunts and places around England and Scotland.
Phil had a Masonic past, which should be acknowledged, and he enjoyed Tuesday lunches with the "Eat and Argue Club" of retired masons for a number of years. However, he became an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #15 in Brampton ON where he was involved, with Hugh at his side, year after year in the annual Poppy Fund drive and marched every year in the Remembrance Day ceremony with Legion #15. Phil was immensely proud of his military past and wore his medals,beret and blazer with pride. He was an avid history buff and loved anything military or English. He enjoyed participating in and attending air shows and aviation museums. Often times, he would know more than the people involved with them. Some aircraft he had originally piloted and still has the logbooks.
Phil was a highly educated man with a wicked sense of humour, a great dancer although Valerie always said he had two left feet (fish tank! that's an inside for the family!) He was a mentor to Bill Rogers and his friend Stephen Smith now of White Rock BC throughout the years. I know they will toast him with the steins he gave them each long ago. His granddaughters adore him and this writer will treasure all those weekly lunches we had together, if for no other reason than to discuss the politics of the day and that he didn't have holes in his socks. He was the world to Hugh and a Dad that Sue could always count on to be there for her.
Finally, our family extends a massive thanks to the Palliative Care team at Brampton Civic Hospital; Dr. Roddy Davey and Dr. Amit Arya and the nursing staff for taking such good care of our Dad in his final days.
Flowers are not necessary, given the location of his final resting place, but donations to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch#15 Poppy Fund ( ON) would be much appreciated in recognition of a wonderful cause and the hard work Phil and Hugh put in each year.