Richard Keith Phillips was born on 14 August 1895 at Ascot Vale, Melbourne. He was a nineteen year old clerk who had spent just over five and a half years in the cadets when he elisted with the 5th Battalion on 6 October 1914. It was not long before Phillips embarked for overseas service on 21 October aboard HMAT Orvieto. After arriving in Egypt he was moved to the battalion’s transport section as a pack driver.
The battalion embarked on SS Novian for Gallipoli and landed on 25 April, however Phillips did not land as it was deemed too dangerous to disembark the transport horses. For the next three weeks aboard the ship he wrote in his diary of the warships shelling the hills and the airplanes overhead. On 13 May his transport section returned to Alexandria and he eventually landed at Gallipoli in mid-October 1915.
After the withdrawal from Gallipoli in December, Phillips was posted to the newly formed 57th Battalion as part of the doubling of the Australian Imperial Force. He was promoted to sergeant, then, in February 1916, to acting company quartermaster sergeant, and by May was promoted permanently to the position. The battalion sailed to France in June and saw its first action at the Battle of Fromelles on the night of 19/20th June 1916. Phillips was reported missing after the battalion's attack on the German positions, but was found to have been mildly wounded in the face and suffering from shell-shock and returned to the battalion ten days later.
At the end of December, Phillips fell ill and was admitted to hospital suffering from dysentery. After spending nine months in England, he returned to Australia and was discharged as medically unfit on 27 October 1917. After the First World War, Phillips became an accountant and moved from Melbourne to New South Wales. He joined the Citizen Military Forces in 1924 and married a year later. He served with the 20th and 33rd Battalions and was commissioned in 1938. In 1942, Phillips was posted to the 103 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment. Richard Keith Phillips eventually left the army in October 1943 and died at Katoomba, New South Wales in 1952.