Phillips transferred to England and was attached to a fighter squadron no. 3, immediately joining the frontline of the battle.
On arrival in England, he was described as the “best all-round pilot of the RAAF.”
Of this newly formed squadron, Phillips was the first to shoot down an enemy bomber. His obituary also records his success in shooting down an enemy Messerschmitt.
In a letter, held by ANZ’s archives, Phillips thanked his colleagues back home for sending out a parcel with letters and food. He also laments a difference with life back in Australia.
“We have experienced temperatures of 10 degrees below zero,” Phillips wrote. “Personally I would prefer a decent Australian heat wave.”
On 28 May, 1941 after flying his Hurricane on an operational patrol, he lost control of his aircraft and crash landed being killed on impact. He was 26.
The home front
With so many men like Phillips serving overseas, there were significant shortages in personnel on the home front.