By Alison Phillips
Over the years, much has been written about the Titanic disaster. Unbeknown to many however, Galway has a unique connection to the Titanic disaster.
For three years between 1908 and 1911, Jack Phillips, who would go on to become the senior wireless operator on the Titanic, worked at the high-powered wireless station at Derrigimlagh, three miles outside of Clifden. He would later lose his life in the disaster.
John G. Phillips, known as ‘Jack’ was born in Godalming, Surrey on the 11th April, 1887. He was the third child born to George Alfred Phillips and Ann (née Sanders). Jack’s father was the manager of ‘Gammons,’ a draper’s shop in Godalming.
In 1902, at the age of fifteen, Jack finished his schooling and went to work as a telegraph boy at Godalming Post Office. After four years at the Post Office, he decided to further his career by going to sea as an operator for the Marconi Company.
Following six months of training at the Marconi Training School in Liverpool, Jack successfully completed the course and went to sea for the first time on the White Star Liner Teutonic.
Over the next two years, he worked as a wireless operator on various liners, including the Lusitania and the Mauretania. After two years at sea, Jack was sent to work at Marconi’s transatlantic transmitting station at Derrigimlagh, three miles outside Clifden in Co. Galway.