The Freda Laycock Memorial Web Site



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Freda's Diaries - January/February 1943

Freda kept a diary for a two year period during the war - 1943 and 1945. Here we reproduce her daily record of those times. This part of the site is under construction. Please call back regularly for updates:

January 1943

January 1st 

Bathing at Lumley- Danny and Willis were there. Walk in the evening.

January 2nd

Sgts dance at Grafton. Went by ambulance. I enjoyed it very much. Half day, tea at Kennedys1. Service at Sailors' Institute. Lighting failed. Capt. Summers2 spoke.

January 3rd

Working on Ward 3, transferred patients to Ward 5 as there was an invasion of ants in Ward 3.

January 4th

5-8pm letter writing.

January 5th

Trip to Charlotte Falls. Walked there. Chop at Kenneth's. Back by car with Kennedys.

January 6th

10-1 Win3 on night duty. Another boil in my ear.


Half day. Should have played tennis but did not go owing to this boil. On night duty

January 8th

Night duty again on Ward 15

January 9th

Night duty

January 17th

Still on night duty. Win and I went to Kennedys for chop. Jack4 collected us.

January 18th

A cable from home from Bessie5

January 19th

Two more cables - Thomas and Edna6

January 20th 

A cable from mother

January 21st

Finished night duty. Win and I went for a walk.

January 22nd

Day off. Sewing all day. Moonlight picnic, sausage supper.

January 23rd

Day off. Bathing with 3 friends No. 2 beach.. Kennedys in evening. My birthday presents from Win, Jack and Mrs Kennedy. On duty Ward 19, Sunday morning service

January 25th

Half day. Tennis with Geoff and Ceisor. Dinner at Kennedys. 9 of us. Win, Nela, Willis, McClure, Jack and Geoff. Bouquets and birthday cake. Sent cable for??..birthday.

January 26th

10-1 . Willis and Dr McClure came for tea. I had my ear seen to. A quiet day on the ward. Reading Rebecca.

January 27th

Half day. Sewing all day. Having my ear treated.

January 28th

10-1 Douney came for tea.

January 29th

Half day. Saw Helen off to Lagos. Trip to Bulham, Win, Will, Douney and I.stayed to chop. Met Kennedys who brought us back.

January 30th

10-1. Mending a.m. Letters in afternoon, Kennedys p.m. Went down on Jack's motorbike. Chinese chequers. Half day. Jack and Geoff came for tea. Took us down to the service. Kennedys for tea.

January 31st

Service in Sailors' Institute p.m. Jack spoke on Dunkirk. Kennedys brought us back.


1  Kennedys and Ione Driscoll are American missionaries who were in Sierra Leone when mum arrived. They remained friends after the war.

2 Captain Summers and Mum kept in Christmas card touch after the war. They were able to meet up again years later when on one visit to me we went to meet Mr Summers at his home in Epsom.

3  Win Lacy became mum's lifelong friend. She came from Wallasey (Merseyside) She and mum met on enlisting and fortunately for them were posted together ever afterwards - rather unusual as friendships were not considered when postings were sent out. Mum always felt it was because both their surnames began with L.

4 Think this is a reference to Jack Alstrapp who mum and Aunty Win used to talk of. Think he was a dentist in the Reigate area after the war.

5 Cousin of mums from Hensall

6 One of mum's brothers who is now 96 and still living in Hensall. Edna is mum's sister. Sadly she died early 1960s

February 1943

February 1st

10-1 Major Roberts saw my ear, to be admitted to Ward 19 tomorrow.

February 2nd
Admitted to Ward 19. Having treatment. Had quite a few visitors.

February 3rd

A number of visitors again. Padre Malacki, Shaw and others. Mail arrived 9.30pm.8 letters, snaps of nephews, 2 papers.

February 4th

Wrote home to Teresa. Mrs Kennedy came and brought ice cream. Tony Thomas brought book of poems for me.

February 5th

Sewing for Gorkie. Douney came to see me brought books. Padre Robson and different sisters.

February 6th

Up 2 hours today, Geoff came to see me in the evening. Did a spot of sewing. Reading most of today.

February 7th

Jack and Win had tea with me in the ward. Win came up to see me after duty.

February 8th

Barker Julia and Sister Owens admitted to the ward with me. Barker had her appendix out. Douney came and brought books, Win came along with her sewing.

February 9th

Another Sister admitted. Went to Tower Hill show in evening. Mail, 7 letters and 2 parcels. 1 paper.

February 10th

Writing letters. Geoff came up to see me. Win came up later. Went with Julia for X-ray.

February 11th

Discharged. Mr and Mrs Kennedy came up and stayed for tea. Reading most of day.

February 12th

1st day sick leave. Sewing all morning. Walk in evening.

February 13th

2nd day sick leave. Reading most of day. Did some sewing. Kennedys in evening. RAF chairman there.

February 14th

On duty Extension 24 and 25. Half day, service in afternoon. Kennedys for tea. Service at Sailors Institute later.

February 15th

10-1. Went to R.T.O. about tickets to Makeni.

February 16th

Half day. Did some packing. Went up to see Julia.* Did some cutting out in evening.
* Could be Julia Adams who mum kept up with. She lived in Plymouth and we
met her once on holiday

February 17th

10-1, more packing ready for leave.

February 18th

Left Water Street Station at 8.35 a.m. John Summers with us. Malaki and ? joined us. Arrived 12 noon. Met by a Major and Captain Joyce. Taken to Birches.

February 19th

Went round Dispensary at Birches. Came by truck to Ione's. Had lunch and rested. Walk to village later. Saw natives dancing and Bandha girls. Singing on veranda later in evening.

February 20th

Lazy morning, Sgt and officer came to tea. Walked round Kamabai. Saw Karomah's wife. Steak sizzle in the moonlight, singing round the fire.

February 21st

Service 8.30a.,m. Clocks altered. Played organ in morning. Went to Bumbah to see burnt village. 58 houses - chief 30 wives. Service in evening, John* spoke, singing on veranda later, John sat in hammock, broke later.
* John Summers

February 22nd

Walked to tip of hillock. Pistol shooting and singing. Sleep. 5pm ladies sewing meeting. Walked in Kamabai. Service Jack spoke. Head man Bagbun told us of wailings. Native pianola.

February 23rd

Up at 6.45am. Walk to top of big hill. Breakfast of coffee-sandwiches. Singing, plenty of rests. Children marching afterwards. Saw spinning in village. Children practice racing. Service Geoff spoke. Talking until 12 midnight.

February 24th

Game of croquet, tug of war ? school girls. Pa K collected us to Birches. Steak sizzle over charcoal fire. Singing rounds. Brought boys to transit camp and station. Back to rest house and mud hut.

February 25th

Went round town and hospital. Geoff rolled up ?missed train. Breakfast under mango tree. Birches and Ks collected us went to Masumbo- old mission house, lunch there. Dr Madden and 2 MDs collected us went to his house for dinner.

February 26th

Breakfast under mango tree. Ione and I saw march past. Went to Dr Madden's house Pa K collected us, back to rest house. Sports tea round prison. Left at dark. Dinner out of doors, hurricane lamp bed.

February 27th

Packed and came in Ione's car to Badembe. Crossed ferry lots of army traffic. Mrs Birch and Mrs K already here. Cinema men came to chop out of doors. Cinema show Africans there.

February 28th

Service in village, native preacher and interpreter- "build your house on a rock." Round chiefs house and court  native prisoner- stole 2 cows. Letter writing, bed in afternoon. Walk with Win after bath talk over the holiday. Evening meeting. Music by cinema people in evening.

Forward to March/April 1943