Philip (Phil) David Charles Collins is an English Drummer, Singer, Songwriter and Actor. He is best known as the drummer and lead singer of the rock band Genesis and for his later solo career. Despite being born and raised in West London, England he has an obsession with the battle and siege of the Alamo, a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution.
Following a 13 day siege, (February 23 – March 6, 1836) Mexican troops under General Antonio López de Santa Anna reclaimed the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas in the United States). In doing so, killing most of the Texans inside. Santa Anna’s cruelty during the battle inspired many to join the Texan Army. Boosted by a desire for revenge, the Texans defeated the Mexican Army six weeks later at the Battle of San Jacinto, ending the rebellion in favour of the then newly formed Republic of Texas.
Something in the story clearly strikes a chord with Collins. As a child, he would often re-enact the battle of Alamo with toy soldiers. But when he finished playing he would have a strange urge to burn his plastic soldiers. Later he discovered that the Mexican General Santa Anna had ordered that the bodies of the Texan defenders to be cremated.
Knowing his passion for the subject, in the 1990s his then wife gave him the receipt for the horse, saddle and bridle of John W Smith. Smith served as a scout / messenger during the siege. On February 23, he was sent to assess the Mexican Army’s strength and position. He found the Mexican Army in some strength and immediately returned to the Alamo. Later that evening he was dispatched to Gonzales (Texas). He returned with the Gonzales Company of Mounted Volunteers on March 1.
Before the final battle of the Alamo and its fall, he was sent to Washington-on-the-Brazos (Texas). He returned with 50 men but heard no gunfire as their horses drank at Cibolo Creek (the site of a temporary camp nearby). He was informed that the battle was over and instead headed east to fight at San Jacinto a few weeks later.
This historical receipt was first item in what would become the largest private collection of Alamo artefacts, documents and objects. In 2009, while at an Alamo celebration, a Spiritual Clairvoyant called Carolyn Raine-Foreman told Collins that he had been John W. Smith in a past life.
She later said, “I could feel that there was something else with him. A deeper connection. It made perfect sense that for somebody who grew up far away in England, there had to be something more driving him than just a casual interest in the Alamo”. Collins himself said, “I don’t want to sound like a weirdo… But I’m prepared to believe… therefore it is a possibility that I was here in another life.”
Since then Collins has gone on to narrated a light and sound show about the Alamo and speak at related events. He has also written a book about the subject, ‘The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector’s Journey’ published in 2012 and made a short film called ‘Phil Collins and the Wild Frontier’ which captures him on his book tour of June 2012.
In June 2014, Collins announced that he was donating his entire collection artefacts to the Alamo via the State of Texas and in March 2015, to mark of his donation, Collins was named an honorary Texan.