Phantom was - and still is - one of the most secret but most effective of the wartime special regiments. It was formed in 1939 with the mission of finding out exactly where all the Allied forward positions were - a task which required linguistic ability, unlimited tact, and radio expertise. After Dunkirk its squadrons at first kept an eye on all invasion points, before deploying to Greece, and to the Middle East. A n indispensable direct communication link between the forward patrols and command headquarters, it operated in Italy, Sicily, Austria, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Phantom was at Dieppe with the Commandos, in France with the SAS, at Arnhem with Airborne and in Germany until the surrender. Phantom members were as varied and colourful as its tasks. Among its member were two Privy Councillors, three life peers, five hereditary peers, the Master of a Cambridge college, three professors, a famous actor-playwright, a film star, a famous sculptor, a Law Lord, a steward of the Jockey Club, a Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and numerous authors and journalists.
As this fascinating history shows, Phantom was so successful in its role of tracking both allied and enemy movements and relaying vital information direct to commanders that it became hugely respected and yet retained its aura of mystery.
Philip Warner (1914-2000) enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals after graduating from St Catherine's, Cambridge in 1939. He fought in Malaya and spent 1,100 days as 'a guest of the Emperor' in Changi and on the Railway of Death, an experience he never discussed. He was a legendary figure to generations of cadets during his thirty years as a Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Yet he will arguably be best remembered for his contribution of more than 2,000 obituaries of prominent army figures to The Daily Telegraph.