Portsmouth’s Bob keeps on smiling at 104 years old

‘He’s always smiling and is so cheerful,’ says Glenis, as she describes her 104-year-old dad Bob Phillips.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 1:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 1:16 pm
Happy Bob with his huge 104th birthday cake and daughter Glenis, left, and son-in-law Martin Gentles.

Born on March 17, 1915, as Robert Phillips, Bob is a ‘geordie boy’ who grew up in Sunderland with his mum Marion, dad Robert and two sisters.

‘He went to school in Chester-Le-Street,’ says Bob’s daughter Glenis.

‘He wanted to be a news reporter and learnt shorthand at school. But there weren’t many jobs during the 30s and 40s so he moved to London and became a delivery driver instead.’

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Bob smiling with all of his family at his party at The Golden Lion, Fareham.

While living amid the hustle and bustle of London, Bob’s dad died and the family decided to move to Portsmouth to be closer to his older sister.

Once in Portsmouth, Bob got a job at Airspeed at Eastern Road. Due to his ‘weak heart’, he could not join up in the Second World War so instead carried on working hard checking aeroplane drawings and fixing mechanical parts.

And one morning on the bus to work, Bob met the love of his life, Molly.

‘He met my mum on the bus. She was called Evelyn Mary Kate but everyone knew her as Molly.’

From left: Glenis, birthday boy and Bobs great-grandson Harry Gentles, Bob and Martin.

‘They had a very happy marriage and were married from 1949 until 2009, so they spent 60 years together,’ says Glenis.

The Phillips had their one daughter, Glenis, in 1950 and the family lived in Copnor. Today, Bob lives at home in Drayton. 

Throughout his life, Bob has always loved cars and motorbikes.

‘For his 100th birthday, we went to the motor museum at Beaulieu and he still talks about it now,’ laughs Glenis.

Bob sporting his St Patricks Day hat with his grandchildren.

And during his retirement, Bob bought numerous plane tickets to ‘see more of the world’. His trips to Egypt, Turkey and Italy are just a few of his favourites.

To celebrate his 104th year, Bob celebrated with his family at the Golden Lion, Fareham, which is run by his grandson Rob and his partner Anita.

‘We had a lovely time,’ says Glenis.

‘My dad is just always happy.’