Roy Cecil PHILLIPPS MC and Bar, DFC


Service Numbers: Officer, 860
Enlisted: 23 April 1915
Last Rank: Squadron Leader
Last Unit: Elementary Flying Training School
Born: Moree, New South Wales, Australia, 31 January 1896
Home Town: Toowoomba, Toowoomba, Queensland
Schooling: Hale School, Perth, Western Australia
Occupation: Accountant
Died: Flying Accident, Archerfield Airfield, Queensland, 21 May 1941, aged 45 years
Cemetery: Lutwyche Cemetery, Brisbane, Qld
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Lutwyche Cemetery WW2 Cremation Commemorations, Queensland Garden of Remembrance (Pinnaroo), Qld, Toowoomba Roll of Honour WW2, Toowoomba WW2 Roll of Honour Book, Toowoomba War Memorial (Mothers' Memorial), Wembley Downs Hale School Honour Roll 2, Wembley Downs Hale School Memorial Grove
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World War 1 Service

23 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Officer, 28th Infantry Battalion
4 Feb 1918: Honoured Military Cross and bar
3 Aug 1918: Honoured Distinguished Flying Cross

World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Squadron Leader, 860
21 May 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader, Elementary Flying Training School
Date unknown: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Squadron Leader

Help us honour Roy Cecil Phillipps's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by David Barlow

Son of William Hargreave Phillipps and Cecil Raymond Phillipps

Husband of Ellen Hillman Phillipps of Toowoomba, Queensland

He was awarded the Military Cross and Bar (MC + Bar) and the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in WW1 as a member of the Australian Flying Corps attached to the Royal Flying Corps.

Supplement to the London Gazette 22 June, 1918 - Awarded the Military Cross

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When engaged with hostile aircraft during the recent operations, he has destroyed three enemy machines, and has in addition brought down two hostile planes out of control. He has also brought back accurate and valuable information regarding hostile movements under the most adverse conditions, particularly on one occasion, when he flew through a heavy barrage at a low altitude behind the enemy's lines. He has shown conspicuous skill and determination when escorting low-flying bombing patrols.


Supplement to the London Gazette 5 July, 1918 - Awarded a bar to the Military Cross

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has performed continuous gallant work at very low altitudes in almost impossible weather. Whilst flying alone in a mist he forced an enemy aeroplane to land. On two occasions, flying at an altitude of 200 feet, he made very valuable reconnaissances, and his reports on the general situation were of the greatest value. His leadership is excellent, and he has set a high example to his flight.


Supplement to the London Gazette 3 August, 1918 - Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross

Whilst on offensive patrol this officer destroyed personally four enemy aeroplanes; he has also shown the greatest gallantry during the recent operations in attacking troops and transports on the roads, and dropping bombs from very low altitudes.


Squadron Leader Phillipps 860 and Flight Lieutenant Collins 5611 of Number 2 Elementary Flying Training School (2EFTS), RAAF Base Amberley were killed in the loss of C-17B Staggerwing aircraft registration VH-UYI

The aircraft crashed while taking off from Archerfield Airfield, Queensland - it caught fire when it hit a tree about 580 yards outside the south west corner of the airfield, killing both occupants.

The aircraft was owned by FLTLT Collins who was a grazier of Nindoonbah property near Beaudesert in southern Queensland


Squadron Leader Phillipps was cremated at Mt Thompson Crematorium and his name appears on the Queensland Cremation Memorial, Brisbane



Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From AWM

Roy Phillipps was born in Moree, NSW on 1 March 1892.

Following the death of his father, William Hargreaves Phillipps, he moved with his mother, Mrs Cecil Raymond Phillipps to Perth. Roy was schooled at Perth High School then studied to be an accountant, eventually working for the pastoralist firm Connor, Doherty & Durack Ltd in the Kimberley region until enlistment in April 1915. Following training at the 28th Battalion school of instruction he applied for a commission in the AIF and was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant (2nd Lt) in the 28 Battalion.

Embarking for Egypt on board HMAT Ascanius on 9 June 1915, 2nd Lt Phillipps served on the Gallipoli peninsula, after which he was promoted to Lieutenant (Lt). Proceeding to France in March 1916, Lt Phillipps took part in the famed 'Black ANZACs' night raid at Armentieres on the night 6/7 June 1916, for which he is mentioned in the Official History (see Bean, Vol III, Chapter IX, page 247). At Pozieres on 5 August 1916 Lt Phillips suffered a gun shot wound to the right thigh and was repatriated to England and hospitalised at Wandsworth Hospital, London.

After rejoining his battalion in October 1916 with the rank of Captain (Capt), Phillipps was wounded a second time whilst in the Guedecourt sector, and was again repatriated to England to recover. Captain Phillipps was discharged from 3rd London General Hospital on 2 March 1917.

Being incapacitated from further infantry service, he lowered his age (changing his date of birth to 1896) and transferred to 68 (Australian) Squadron Royal Flying Corps where he flew the SE-5 on reconnaisance sorties in Northern France and Belgium. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) in February 1918, with the bar added in June 1918, both for excellent reconnaissance work and forcing down enemy aircraft.

He received the latter award from the King at Buckingham Palace on March 9 1919. In August 1918 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for bringing down yet another enemy aircraft, and in October 1918 he was promoted to Major (Maj) and assumed command of the Squadron. By the end of the First World War, Maj Phillipps MC & Bar DFC had a tally of 15 confirmed victories over enemy aircraft.

Phillipps married Miss Ellen Hillman Robinson, daughter of Mr R.T Robinson, K.C., Attorney General for Western Australia, on 8 September, 1917 at St Mary Abbott's, Kensington. It was reported at the time that the bridegroom only obtained leave for the wedding the previous day.

Following the war, he oversaw his own property near Moree before being recalled to duty on the eve of the Second World War. Squadron Leader Phillipps was killed on 21 May 1941 in an aircraft accident near Archerfield, Queensland, aged 45.