The Freda Laycock Memorial Web Site



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Diary - May/June 1945

May 1st

Slept in all day. Canadian sisters have arrived. Canadian major came over to tell us that Berlin has fallen. Germans announced the 3rd Reich is finished. Expect news of the war being over any time. We have a bottle of champagne.

May 2nd

Went to officers' shop. Packed and left Bassum at 2pm. Arrived at Marine Camp at 4pm went to bed early. Lots of X POWs about the camp and German POWs working.

May 3rd

Had a day off, stayed in bed in morning. Afternoon did packing. Evening went to the pictures.

May 4th

On duty. Mess moved into the barracks. Not very busy in the wards. Germans surrendered in Northern Germany.

May 5th 

Quiet day

May 6th 

Up early packed left Zevan at 2. Arrived POW camp Sanbostal at 4pm. Had tea and went round wards. 1700 patients. Had a conference with MOs later about ward work.

May 7th

Meeting with German sisters. On wards at 12 midday. 270 patients on my ward. Very, very busy. Not enough staff, food or equipment. Patients in an appalling condition, starved and dying. Heard late at night it was VE day the following day.

May 8th

VE day hectically busy.

May 9th

VE dinner but I wasn't there. Went back on ward. Had a glass of champagne later.

May 10th

Better day, patients not calling out so much. Pyjamas issued patients look more civilised.

May 12th

Evacuation of patients began but we are still admitting from the camp.

May 13th

Service to celebrate VE Day, Very short service but we were all very tired. About 30 there altogether.

May 15th

Things improving a little but German staff are going off sick. Girls for cleaning changed and new crowd arrived. Went for a walk after duty but was very tired.

May 20th

Having some off duty. Service in the evening.

May 21st

Whit Monday

May 23rd

Win and I went to Rotenberg to 86th General Hospital with R.C. padre from 3CCS. We had a good welcome. Stayed to tea and visited the wards. I had a sore throat and didn't feel too good when we got back

May 27th

Service in the evening, I played the organ.

June 1st

Day off. Up at 12.30 Padre Kyne took Esther, Paddy, Win and I on a picnic, sunbathed and had tea. Afterwards went to Zeedorf to see Highland Div playing the Retreat. Very effective in their kilts.

June 3rd

Evacuated last of our patients this AM. Cleared everything from the wards, equipment not returned we burnt outside the ward. Said goodbye to the German Sisters, girls and the POWs.

June 4th 

Left at 10.30am. Win and I travelled with 2 military officers a Canadian and a Pole. Had lunch at Stade and ride in a super car. Arrived Cuxhaven 5.30pm very windswept. Had supper and looked at the sea. Slept in real beds with electricity and hot water.

June 5th 

Driving lesson from Canadian, drink at the club. Pm went to yachting club had picnic on the way. Had a row on the river. Came back and changed for dinner which we had a the club. Joined a party there some singing and dancing.

June 6th

Went to HDs officers mess. An officer came to tea and arranged to take us horse riding the following day.

June 7th

Played deck tennis in the morning. It rained in the afternoon. Win and I went for a walk on the beach in our bare feet. Very pleasant walk.

June 8th

Went riding on the moors a very pleasant evening.

June 9th

Very stiff from horse riding. Went for a walk with MOs to German gun site found tin hats. Singing on the way back.

June 10th

Parade service in men's dining hall. All the unit there. Service at night in a canteen in Cuxhaven.


Celebration of 10CC's arrival in Normandy. The boys had a dinner. We sisters and officers waited on them. Speeches and concert afterwards.

June 12th

A picnic with Alistair and Bert in the afternoon. A nice sunny day.

June 13th

A long walk in the afternoon back by the sea and over a mine field. Deck tennis and a walk with the MOs after supper.

June 14th 

A walk on the beach in the morning.

June 15th

Raining most of day. Had our photograph taken in Cuxhaven in the afternoon. Evening went to a service in the canteen.

June 16th

Began packing as we are moving on Monday. Went for a walk in pm

June 17th

Service at men's quarters in the morning. Afternoon went for a walk with Alistair and Bert. Evening service and tea down at the HD club in the town. Said goodbye to all the boys.

June 18th

Left Cuxhaven at 9am. Had coffee near Bremen at 11. At 1pm had a meal near Hanover on the roadside. Arrived at Gandersheim 5pm. Had a walk round the grounds and got our room together.

June 19th

Found our way around the hospital. I am on the medical ward.

June 20th

The hospital opened at 12noon, no patients.

June 23rd

Went bathing, a very warm day. In the evening went into the town with Win and Padre Winloss. Went to a very old church. I played the organ and Win pumped it.

June 24th

Service in the hospital chapel.

June 27th

Half day for the week today

June 29th

Heard we are posted to 81 general. So had a half day to pack.