Statement on behalf of the parents of Warrant Officer Class 2 Joseph Phillip Laycock

31 July 2023

Warrant Officer Class 2 Joseph Phillip Laycock

- Mr Joseph Wayne Laycock and Dr Dianne Laycock

Our son, Phillip, had two loves in his life – his military career and his three boys.

Phillip came into the world in Goulburn in 1980, inheriting the family Christian name Joseph as the eldest child. He was joined by brother Stephen a few years later. Growing up he was serious-minded and dutiful, with an exacting eye for detail.

Our family lived in Dubbo for much of the boys’ childhoods, where we worked as a police officer and a teacher respectively. Phillip had an early interest in aviation, which was fostered through the Australian Air Force Cadets, where their father volunteered as a cadet instructor.

Phillip enlisted in the Australian Army in November of 1999 as a combat engineer. He trained in Sydney before posting to 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment in Townsville, and subsequently deploying to Timor-Leste as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission.

Phillip retrained as an Army Aviation Loadmaster in 2004, serving in turn with 5th Aviation Regiment’s A-Squadron, 171st Aviation Squadron at 6th Aviation Regiment, and the Army Aviation Training Centre. While at 6th Aviation Regiment he was joined by brother Stephen, who was also an aircrewman. This led to occasional confusion with not one but two Laycocks on site.

It was in Townsville that Phillip met his now-former wife, and mother of his children, Megs. The two parted ways some years ago, but remained amicable and shared a commitment to their children’s upbringing.

Serving in postings at HMAS Albatross in Nowra and in Canberra, our son shared his deep experience with others, before returning most recently to 171 Squadron as a senior aircrewman.

Outside of his Army career, Phillip was a devoted father and enthusiastic mountain biker. He was an excellent cook, and prepared the family’s Christmas dinner on a number of occasions, with the same meticulous precision he brought to his work – he would shoo us out of the kitchen if we threatened to interfere.

In 2014 our son was named Army’s Aviation Corps ‘Soldier of the Year’ for his performance as Squadron Aviation Aircrewman Instructor. He received the Conspicuous Service Medal in 2016 for ‘meritorious achievement in the performance of duty as the Squadron Aviation Aircrewman Instructor in the 171st Aviation Squadron, 6th Aviation Regiment’. We are immensely proud of the high esteem in which he was held by his mates and superiors.

As well as us and his brother Stephen, Phillip leaves behind three sons, aged between seven and 11, who live on the NSW South Coast with their mother, and share their dad’s love of mountain biking.

We have been left devastated by the loss of our son and extend our most heartfelt sympathies to the loved ones of Phillip’s crewmates. We respectfully ask that the media respect our strict privacy at this time.

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