The Freda Laycock Memorial Web Site



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Freda's Diaries - March/April 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. 

March 1st

Breakfast at Badembee. Left 9.30, shopping in Makeni, tea at Binholi left 4.30. Car broke down 5pm. 8pm lorry came up, mended car, back at 9.30. Dinner and bed.

March 2nd

Washed hair, girls class - 1st aid. Siesta. Sewing and talking in the evening, Ione gave us snaps.

March 3rd

Girls class, sewing later. Pa Birch, 2 cinema boys came to lunch. Boys stayed to tea. Walk later, saw girls combing their hair. Bandage class for girls in evening.

March 4th

Teaching girls bed making. YMCA men came to lunch. Lt. G.called and 4 army boys in evening for drink.

March 5th

Bathed Frances for girls. Dr Madden came for lunch and clinic. Out to field ambulance for dinner, a jolly crowd of men. Saw Southern Cross!

March 6th

Up 4 am, by ambulance to train. Karoma* missed train. Joined it at Maburka. Engine de- railed at 12.30. Had chop on train, made tea at engine. Boiled eggs at side of line. Went for a walk to engine and down road. Writing letters on the line side. Engine arrived 8pm. Went to club at Bowie for tea. Met by Jack, John, Geoff at 5pm.

*Karoma was a native helper of mums whom she talked of quite a lot. He wrote to her whilst she was in Sierra Leone requesting help at times - see letters section.

March 7th

Mail waiting for us. 13 letters, 7 papers. Unpacking am. Duty at 1pm. On Ward 27. Not very busy but dead tired. Geoff rang up at 5pm.

March 8th

Half day today. Geoff came for tea. Went to see Julia at 5 she is boarded home. Small mail arrived 6 letters, 6 papers.

March 9th

I was moved to Ward 6, another half day. Went to beach, Dr Maddon was there. Win stayed to go for a walk with Geoff. 5 more letters arrived, letter writing in evening.

March 10th

10 -1. Letter writing. Called to see Julia for half an hour after tea. Patients on Ward 6 are very lively.

March 11th

Half day. Admitted American Ac. App. Win and I walked to town shopping. Bought red vyella, took it to be made up. Spent up. Julia went on board at 5pm.

March 12th

10 -1 Washed hair am not too busy on ward.

March 13th

Half day. Quite a busy morning. Will, Stella Edwards ,Win, Geoff, Jack and I rode to Kor??t. Walked to Leicester Peak. Picnic, had a fire. Back at 8pm. Unit dance in evening.

March 14th

Morning in bed. Went to service, Malaki was the preacher. Very busy half day on duty.

March 15th

Half day, sewing in afternoon. Walk after tea. Sewing again in evening.Geoff rang Win suggested walk on Wed, Jack to come too.

March 16th

On duty Ward 6. Went to prepare Ward 28 for survivors, 100 expected. Should have been 10-1 , had 2- 5 instead, no half day. Back to Ward 6.

March 17th

Half day. Sewing and writing all day.

March 18th

16 survivors arrived early am. I did not see them or look after them. 10-1. Shopping bought 2 pouffes and wallet. Went to dentist, impression for bottom teeth. Busy day on Ward.

March 19th

Half day. Sewing most of day.

March 20th

10 - 1. Busy on Ward. Went to R.E. dance in evening. About 9 couples there Foster, Mac, Hutch, Welch, Hayward and I.

March 21st

6am duty on Extension Ward 26 - skins. Hectic morning. Had photo taken. Jack and Geoff came to tea, took us to service.

March 22nd

Changed off duty. Another half day. Friends came to tea, sat on gun turret chatting to them. Making a nightie.

March 23rd

10-1 Lt. Evans came to see me on the ward and down to the mess for tea. Win and I had a walk to the gun turret and sat there chatting. A lovely moonlight night.

March 24th

Half day, went to beach, had tea with Geoff.

March 25th

10-1 went to town shopping. Called at dentists.

March 26th

Win off duty with me now, went for a walk to brook, walked up brook, bananas, limes and figs growing.
Grafton dance in evening.

March 27th

10-1 not out today, short walk to gun turret, early to bed.

March 28th

Half day. Busy did not go to morning service. 4pm service, Phil Jones spoke.

March 29th

10-1 Shopping bought dress length

March 30th

Half day. bathing at Lumley. Mail arrived.

March 31st

10-1 more mail

April 1st

Played tennis with Grace, ? and Jean Waugh. Had invitation to Military Ball Tower Hill. Small mail again today.

April 2nd

Colonel's inspection. Saw Major Gollam ( dentist) in afternoon

April 3rd

Half day. Geoff, Will, Win and I went bathing off Lumley. Took our tea, had a glorious day. I lost 2 shoe heels.

April 5th

Half day. Sewing. Called to see the Kennedys in the evening.

April 6th

10-1 Moved skins to Ward 28 and 29.

April 7th

Half day. Bathing at Lumley.

April 8th

10-1 Shopping.  Bought 8 straw baskets for 18 shillings

April 9th

Half day Tennis with Grace ? and Ceizar.

April 10th

10-1 very tired. Did not go down to Kennedys, Win went alone

April 11th

Jack and Geoff came up to tea. Went to Cathedral. Tea at Kennedys. Service at Sailor's Institute


Shopping in town.


Day off Win, Geoff and I had taxi to beach, lunch and tea there. Jack joined
us later. Really did get burnt.

April 14th



Half day. Beach at 6pm with Mrs Kennedy. Grace Davies was with us.

April 16th

10-1, gramophone recital in evening

April 17th

Picnic at Gloucester. Will, Win, Jack, Geoff, Miss Davies. Made fire ? had kettle. Dance in hall later "our Sgts dance enjoyed it very much."

April 18th

10-1 Service at 11.45 Malacki spoke. Letter writing later.

April 19th

Half day Geoff came up to tennis

April 20th


April 21st

Half day bathing

April 22nd

10-1 Shopping in town. To Mrs Boston's for fitting. Bought material for grey skirt.

April 23rd (Good Friday) 

Half day Service in morning. Back with Win etc. Usual beach ambulance

April 24th

Half day, Jack and Geoff up for tea.

April 25th

Went to service in Cathedral. Chop at Kennedys. Service at Sailors Institute. Wilkinson gave Win and I snaps of up country

April 26th

10-1 No transport to town

April 27th

Half day went to beach

April 28th


April 29th

Tennis with Malacki,? And Sharma! Walked down with Win and Geoff. Jack admitted to hospital. Saw him in

April 30th

Jack gave us snaps and had collected my necklet*. !0-1 mail again. 12
letters 8 or 9 papers.

* This could be a reference to a gold necklace I have. Mum treasured this keep sake from Sierra Leone. (Patricia's daughter had mum's engagement ring as I felt this the right person for it, so I had the necklace.)