EDWIN PHILLIPS (1877 - 1926)
Edwin Phillips, the eldest child of Eve and Edmund was born on 26 Febru ary 1877 fourteen months after they arrived in New Zealand. He would ha ve been just five when his father left home and 17 when his step-father died in 1894. It is suspected that he would have borne a lot of the re sponsibilty for the household's income after this.
Not a great deal is recorded about Uncle Ted except his death. He is sh own as a cook and later as a Marine Engineer, living with his mother at Carlyle Street in 1911 and it is known that he worked on board coastal vessels for some time, qualifying for his engineering certificate. It w as whilst employed on these ships that he would have come across Benjam in Clifton and family in Westport - hence the story of the West Coast r ed-headed Cliftons. He became a Hawker and travelled with a lorry aroun d the Hawke's Bay area. It was on such a trip that he met his death, wh ich is recorded in the Coroner's Inquest report (COR 1926/786)now held i n NZ National Archives. He died on 16 July 1926 when his lorry plunged d own the Matahora Gorge (on the Napier to Wairoa road)
Part of the Coroner's Inquest Report on the death of Edwin Phillips sho ws the statements of two of the witnesses at the Inquest. The first wit ness was Edwin's half-brother Albert Morgan Clifton:
My name is Albert Morgan Clifton and I am an engine driver residing at C harles Street Westshore. I identify the body now lying at Napier Morgue as that of my half brother Edwin Phillips. He was a single man, 49 yea rs of age, and he resided with his mother at 86 Carlyle Street, Napier. His mother's name is now Mrs Clifton. He was formerly an engineer but h e is now a hawker and he owned a Stewart motor lorry, which he used for hawking fruit and vegetables about the country. On Thursday morning la st at about 9.30 am he left home with the lorry and as far as I know he went on to Waikare Road. He has not been seen alive in Napier since th en. The deceased was born in Wellington.
The Second witness to the crash that killed Edwin Phillips stated:
My name is Baden Powell Slade and I am a mechanic and sometimes employe d by the Hawke's Bay Motor Coy, and I reside at Wairoa. I was driving t he Hawke's Bay Motor Coy Service car which left Wairoa at 9.30 am on th e 16th Inst(July 1926). Coming up the Matahora Gorge at about noon on t hat day and when nearing a bend in the road I sounded the horn on the c ar. I would be about twelve to fifteen yards from the bend when I first saw the deceased's lorry coming in the opposite direction. Instead of c oming round the corner he drove straight over the bank. I stopped my ca r and then looked down into the Gorge and saw the lorry in what I thoug ht was an upturned position in the bed of the creek. The driver of the c ar that was behind me and some other men went down into the creek and t he body of the deceased was pulled up to the top by means of a rope. He was quite dead then. The body was placed in my car and taken to Napier Public Morgue. The deceased's lorry was travelling at about twelve to f ifteen miles an hour. I cannot form any opinion as to the cause of the a ccident. He did not make any attempt to turn the corner. I noticed some skid marks on the road, showing that the deceased had applied his brak es.