Joseph was the son of William and Harriet Phillips. When he enlisted in Brisbane Qld in May 1916 he stated he was born at Boggabilla NSW and that he was working as a Stockman at Yetman NSW.
He was just eighteen years old when he joined the 42nd Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement and left Australia on HMAT A46 Clan Macgillivray in September 1916. After arriving in England in November further training was undertaken before being sent to France in February 1917.
Joseph was wounded in action in June and admitted to the 9th Field hospital with a gunshot wound to his right arm. Six weeks later he rejoined his unit, then was wounded and gassed in October. During August 1918 he was promoted to Lance Corporal and suffered mustard gas poisoning resulting in three weeks treatment.
During his time overseas he met and married Elizabeth Byrne in Ireland in 1919. They returned to Australia in 1920 and lived at Boggabilla NSW where Joseph died in 1959.
Joseph Phillips has his name recorded on the Yetman Honor Roll.