Lieutenant Philip West, Royal Navy, was killed on 22nd March 2003 when two Mk 7 Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASAC) helicopters collided over international waters in the Gulf. The helicopters were from 849 Squadron A Flight, which is based at the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, in Cornwall. The crash was not the result of enemy action and tragically there were no survivors.
Phil, aged 32, lived in Budock Water with his fiancée Nicky who works as a nurse at Treliske hospital. The couple were due to be married in August this year and had been converting a barn together.
As a boy, Phil lived in Carlisle, moving when he was 10 to Hoy Lake on the Wirral. He went to Salford University when he was 18 and joined the University Royal Naval Unit where he developed his interest in the RN. Having obtained his degree he joined Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1992 and commenced officer training. His parents recall how he had always wanted to fly and his decision to join the service made them extremely proud. Following Sea King Observer training he gained his wings in 1994. Phil served in HMS Invincible during the Adriatic deployment of 1996 and was awarded the campaign medal for his service.
Nicky and Phil met in Falmouth in 1998 when he was serving at RNAS Culdrose. Since settling in the region Phil, much to the amusement of his family, had become quite a countryman. He loved his dog Georgie and Nicky's four horses. Nicky's parents Steve and Sandra, who live in Budock Water, adopted him into their family and Steve introduced him to the game of golf of which he became a devotee.
Both families were looking forward to celebrating the couple's marriage in August and his tragic loss is so hard to bear. However, they have all been overwhelmed by the tremendous support that they have received from friends and family which is proving a great comfort.
Phil was known throughout 849 as "Stretch" on account of his height (6'4"). He was admired by his colleagues for his professionalism and always put those he was with at their ease. Nicky described him as, "patient, thoughtful and considerate." All those who were close to him miss him greatly.