War hero was a gentlemen’ to the end

PUBLISHED: 14:15 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:57 25 August 2010

TRIBUTES: Phillip Watts (Right)

TRIBUTES: Phillip Watts (Right)

A WAR hero, who was awarded the Military Cross for his service during World War Two, has died.

A WAR hero, who was awarded the Military Cross for his service during World War Two, has died.

The funeral for Phillip Watts, originally of Station Road, Sidcup, is due to be held at Medway Crematorium today at noon.

Mr Watts died in his sleep on May 11 at the Lavenders Residential Home, West Malling, where he lived with his 94-year-old sister.

The 92-year-old, who worked until the age of 70, became blind towards the end of his life and was also severely deaf.

His close friend Eve Browton, from Hampshire, said: "Even though he was blind he would always get up for a lady coming into a room.

"He was one of the last old school gentlemen. He was always charming and so modest. If you passed by him in the street he would never talk about what he did in the war."

Mr Watts was awarded the Military Cross for his work in the Second World War whilst in Libya after encouraging men to stay firm at a critical part of the battle during a clandestine night operation through a minefield to extend the defensive line.

As a boy, Mr Watts attended Eltham College where he represented his county at rugby. He later went on to study Classics at Oxford University but this was interrupted when the war broke out and he joined his local regiment the 4th Battalion, Royal West Kents.

His service took him to the desert in Burma and later to Libya. After four years of continuous service overseas he returned home.

John Deane, a former colleague said: "He was a wiz at doing the Telegraph crossword even though he was blind, we would read the clues out to him.

"He was still as sharp as a button."

A few years after he graduated, he joined the Treasury and later became an expert in the economics of power generation. He became the commercial director of the Central Electricity Generating Board until he retired at 70-years-old.

n Family have requested all

donations should be sent to the British Heart Foundation through Funeral Directors Viners & Sons, 54 High Street, West Malling, Kent ME19 6UL. Contact 017 3284 2485.

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