A DECORATED army officer who devoted much of his life to the Catholic Church in Southampton, Lieutenant Colonel Philip Marsh Crook has passed away aged 98.

He was a Royal Engineer of 33 years with service in Europe and the Far East, a devout Southampton Catenian heavily involved in St Boniface Church in Shirley, a husband and father of five.

Born in Southampton in 1922 and schooled in Salisbury and Downton, Philip joined the Army in 1937 as a 16-year-old cadet. He joined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak of World War II.

He married Jean at the outbreak of War and had a daughter Carol and four sons David, John, Philip and Paul.

Philip served in Australia, Singapore, England, Germany and Malaysia before his retirement in 1970. He moved back to Southampton and was employed as a property manager.

His wife Jean died in 1976 and he married Pat in 1978.

Philip was a keen amateur boxer in his youth, wrote two autobiographies and served as the President or Chairman of several Southampton societies.

The Saints fan, keen amateur photographer and computer whizz who had lived on Shirley Avenue for 42 years, is survived by his wife Pat, a former Springhill school teacher, five children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, one of them just ten weeks old, as well as an aunt aged 105.

The Requiem Mass for Philip will take place at his beloved St Boniface on Shirley Road tomorrow at 12 noon, followed by a cremation. It will be live screened at st-boniface.org.uk/