COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT
Flemings Hotel, Half Moon Street, London
Sailing Master to George V
Lying in Plot 24, grave 6367 is Major Sir Philip Hunloke. He was born Philip Perceval but changed his name in 1905 after acquiring an inheritance through the female line of the Hunloke family.
His early childhood was spent at Villa Rothsay, Baring Road where he developed his love of sailing; it was only a few steps down the Zig Zag to Princes Green where he would have watched the spectacular racing. He would also have visited the Royal Yacht Squadron and other prestigious sailing clubs with his father. He honed his skills sailing small craft; in 1896 he won 50 prizes in 56 starts. Sir Philip was commodore of the Island Sailing Club 1901-1903. As helmsman on Sorias, an 8 metre yacht owned by the Duchess of Westminster, he won a Bronze medal for Great Britain at the 1908 Olympics held in this country.
After the First World War Philip Hunloke was the first President of the newly formed Ocean Racing Club and was instrumental in creating the now world famous Fastnet Race – first raced in 1925.
In 1914 he was made Groom-in-Waiting to George V and in 1920 became his Sailing Master. Now began a close association with the Royal Yacht Britannia, a “K” class yacht that was converted to “J” class that graced the Solent during the years between the great wars. He is generally regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest helmsman. He was invested as a Knight Grand Cross, Royal Victorian Order (G.C.V.O.).
Without doubt it can safely be said that Sir Philip carried the heaviest responsibility in Cowes Week. As helmsman of Britannia with the King on board, Sir Philip admitted that before the racing season he suffered nightmares connected with the starting line at Cowes.
Although he lived near Malmesbury in Wiltshire, he continued to have close links with Cowes even after the death of George V and the scuttling of Britannia off the Needles in 1936.
He was commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron from 1943 until his death in 1947. A plaque in his memory can be found in Holy Trinity Church.