Philip de Mattos – BaA 36-43

Monday 27 April 2020

Submitted by Nicholas de Mattos (BaB, LaB 66 – 73)

Philip was 93, ailing with a late-onset lung condition, and fortunately, passed on before Covid 19 had got into its stride in this country. He was the youngest of four brothers to go to Christ’s Hospital, the others being Theo, Christopher (who died after an accident in Kent shortly before he was due to leave CH) and David.

Christs Hospital was a veritable life-line for my grandmother whose husband had died when my father was six months old. She had to fend for her five young children with little or no resources to fall back on. ‘Housey’ was always very close to the hearts of all the brothers and it gave them great pleasure to know that a representative of the next generation (myself) was carrying on the de Mattos tradition at CH.

Philip himself joined the navy for the tail-end of the war, but saw more action in the country in Kent where he worked on an uncle’s farm than he did in the Mediterranean by that stage. He described how he had frequently to take cover when the engine of a doodlebug overhead cut out. A piece of shrapnel from one once narrowly missed him.

After graduating from the Royal College of Agriculture at Cirencester and had an early career as a land ranger in Africa and then as an estate agent in Crawley, but Philip settled into a job as a land commissioner in the Ministry of Agriculture, a career in which he remained until his retirement 33 years ago!

He was for some years Treasurer of the Old Blues’ Agricultural Club which has, sadly, since folded and for a year during his retirement in the West Country, he was Mayor of Shaftesbury. His prevailing quality was great kindness and generosity which he extended to all whenever he could. His great niece, Debbie Sellers, was a pupil (BaA 86-93) as well as a teacher at CH (History 00-02) , and also Michael Guppy, his gransdson (ThB, GrW 00-07).