Segment 1


Sidney Philips was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. He grew up on Georgia Avenue in midtown. Eugene [Annotators Note: Eugene Sledge] lived two blocks away on Montawk Avenue. They went to the same grade school. Sledge missed two years of grade school because of rheumatic fever. In his first year of high school, the family moved out to Springfield Avenue in a beautiful old home named Georgia Cottage. The Sledge family did not alter it but decorated it with antiques. Sledge grew up in that home. He had a horse and hunting dogs. Most of the out buildings were still in existence including the old slave buildings. It was heaven on Earth to all of his friends because they would ride horses across 40 acres that went back to a creek. They were all Civil War buffs and Mobile was a great place to be a Civil War buff. There were two old battlefields in Baldwin County right across the bay and they could ride their bicycles there. There were no houses on the battlefield. It was just piney woods with cattle roaming around. The boys would hunt for Civil War relics. They would find bullets and fragments of cannonballs. They had known which regiment had been where. It was a glorious time to grow up in. Close by there was a creek of cold, clear water that they could swim in and sometimes they would spend the night there. They would hunt relics and swim and have a glorious time that boys would. Sledge's father bought him an old Model A roadster with a rumble seat. They would tour the region in that car. Sledge was the only one with a driver’s license. Phillips had a very happy childhood growing up in Mobile. Even though Sledge was two years older than him Phillips finished high school in 41 and Sledge in 42. Sledge had missed two years of school. The age thing then, if you were ahead of someone in school, it was a whole different world that you lived in. That was not true for Sid and Eugene because they were neighbors and such close friends. They grew up together and did everything together. They were both in the same class. Sledge was the best man at his wedding. After the war, Phillips was married and Sledge was not. Sledge would come over and they would sit and talk till two in the morning. Mary would come out and tell Sledge to go home. She knew it is rude but was tired of hearing him. Phillips remembers paying attention to the news in the way most kids do. They knew a war was raging in Europe. They were interested in the R.A.F and that sort of thing. He had cousins in England who his father used to communicate with. Phillips remembers receiving letters from them. They knew England was on the ropes. He thinks everyone believed that we would be at war because of World War 1. We were drawn into World War 1 and that we would be drawn into World War 2. We would resist but eventually we would be drawn in. His father was very patriotic. His father had been in World War I as a second lieutenant and was severely wounded during the Argonne campaign. His battalion surgeon happened to be a Mayo Clinic trained neurosurgeon and was the only reason his father survived. Anything related to patriotism, his father would be in the middle of. His father was a big member of the American Legion and was commander of the big post in Mobile for quite a few years. They decided to have a drum and bugle corps in 1940. Phillips and Sledge both played the snare drum in the Murphy High School Band. His dad asked them if they would teach old veterans to play the snare drum. They must have had a band of 40, with 20 drummers and 20 guys with trumpets. Phillips and Sledge were the instructors for the snare drum unit. They tried but the veterans were terrible. They played two pieces, Stars and Stripes Forever and Semper Fidelis. Phillips and Sledge paraded with the old veterans on the Fourth of July. They got lots of applause but they were awful.


All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at