Layzell, Frederick William Samuel

Frederick, known as Fred to his mates, was born on the 14th June 1923 in Boolaroo in New South Wales. He enlisted in the RAAF in Sydney on the 5th December 1942, and immediately began his flying training at No.2 ITS.

You can follow Fred’s progress in the RAAF by referring to the document to the right, however he was at No.8 Empire Flight Training School (EFTS) Narranderra in April 1943. He then completed further training at No.5 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) Uranquinty before embarking by ship from Sydney on the 13th October 1943. He disembarked in England about five weeks later. Layzell Frederick Pic 7

There he trained on Miles Master 11s prior to being posted to No.71 Operational Training Unit (OTU) at Ismailia in Egypt in July 1944, where he flew Hurricanes and Spitfires with the MACAF (possibly the Mediterrainian Air Command Air Force). He then returned to the UK in January 1945, and by May 1945, he was flying with 332 Squadron RAF of 132 Wing on Spitfire Mk 1Xs. Of interest, the Squadron was manned mainly by Norwegians. 332 Squadron became part of 132 Wing alongside 331 Squadron RAF, the pilots of which was manned entirely by Norwegians except for the Commanding Officer. 332 Squadron operated as air cover for the Dieppe Raid, and later flew fighter sweeps and escort operations over occupied France and the Low Countries. In late 1943 and early 1944, both Squadrons were transferred to the 2nd Tactical Air Force and participated in the Normandy Landings as fighter bombers and tactical air superiority fighters. From September onwards 132 Wing participated in the Liberation of Holland.

On the 3rd July 1945, Fred was posted to 453 Squadron RAF. That’s where Fred’s document stops, however we do know that he was then posted to 66 RAF Squadron, where he flew Spitfire Mk XV1s. This was probably when the Squadron was part of the Second Tactical Air Force providing air cover for the invasion forces in Normandy, while being based in France. In November, the Squadron converted to the Spitfire XVI before moving the Twente in the Netherland where it disbanded on 30 April 1945. Layzell Frederick Pic 8

Then, at some stage, Fred was posted back to 453 Squadron RAAF Squadron as part of the Occupation Forces to Germany, along with 451 Squadron RAAF. However, according to the RAAF Nominal Rolls website, Fred was discharged in May 1946 while at 66 Squadron. This would have been possible because 453 Squadron disbanded at Wunsdorf in Germany on the 21st January 1946, and conceivably he could have returned to 66 Squadron for his remaining months in the RAAF. 

Fred’s honours and awards can be seen on the other document. After the War, Fred returned to Newcastle’s Commonwealth Steel, where he had started and then finished his civilian working life. 

The photo is of a Spitfire with 332 Squadron. Layzell Frederick Pic 3

Fred took his last flight on the 3rd March 2008.

Vince Conant
The Spitfire Association