Sergeant Norman Edward Phillips, the son of Bertie William Phillips and Amelia Irene Phillips (nee Shuttlewood), was born at Charleville in Queensland on 25th May 1917. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the age of 23 years and 6 months he was mobilized into the Australian Military Forces at the Brisbane City Hall on 14th December 1940 after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. At the time of enlistment he was unmarried, employed as a Law Clerk and residing at Mareeba Road, Ashgrove, Brisbane. He had previously served in the Citizen Military Force with the Australian Army Medical Corps. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he had brown hair and brown eyes. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Bertie William Phillips, residing at Mareeba Road, Ashgrove, Brisbane.
Sergeant Norman Phillips was allotted the regimental number of Q62315 and he joined the Camp Dressing Station at Chermside Camp on 14th December 1940. He was classified as a Nursing Orderly (Training Group 3) at Redbank Camp on 27th March 1941. He joined No. 6 Casualty Clearing Station at Fort Lytton on 28th March 1941. He was transferred to the Chermside Camp on 14th May 1941 and on the following day he was promoted to the rank of Corporal and classified as a Clerk (Training Group 3). He proceeded on sick leave during the period 18th July until 6th August 1941. He was promoted to the rank of Lance Sergeant on 5th September 1941.
Sergeant Norman Phillips attended a Theatre Course at the Brisbane General Hospital during the period 1st June until 5th June 1942; during the period 8th June until 12th June 1942; and during the period 15th June until 19th June 1942. He voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 4th September 1942 and he was allotted the new regimental number of QX42276. He was transferred to the 71st Australian Convalescent hospital at Tabragalba on 4th November 1942. He left Tabragalba on on 15th December 1942. He was detached for duty with the 56th Australian Camp Hospital at Lytton pending transfer to 2nd/3rd Australian Hospital Ship on 25th February 1943. He joined the 2nd/3rd Australian Hospital Ship on 17th March 1943.
Sergeant Norman Phillips was a member of the Australian Army Medical Corps staff of 2nd/3rd Australian Hospital Ship “Centaur” that was steaming from Sydney to Cairns. It was torpedoed by a Japanese Submarine off the Queensland coast. Of the men aboard the ship 178 from a total of 193 died and of the 12 nurses on board only one survived the sinking. Norman Phillips has no known grave therefore his name is commemorated on the Sydney Memorial for the missing. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 88 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 29th January 1931 and left the School on 9th December 1931. His parent was shown as Mr B.W. Phillips of Willowburn.