British Executions

Baker Phillips

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: unknown

Date Of Execution: 1 Jan 1745

Crime Location: unknown

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Baker Phillips was court-martialed and shot after his ship was captured by the French. His captain, who had done nothing to prepare the vessel for action, was killed almost immediately by a broadside. Taking command, the inexperienced junior officer was forced to surrender the ship when she could no longer be defended. Although the negligent behaviour of Phillips's captain was noted by the subsequent court martial and a recommendation for mercy entered, Phillips' sentence was approved by the Lords Justices of Appeal. This sentence angered some of parliament, who felt that an officer of higher rank would likely have been spared or else given a light punishment, and that Phillips had been executed because he was a powerless junior officer and thus a useful scapegoat. The Articles of War were amended to become one law for all: the death penalty for any officer who did not do his utmost against the enemy in battle or pursuit, no matter their rank.