The Freda Laycock Memorial Web Site



        This site is dedicated to the memory of Freda Laycock

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About Freda

The Early Years

Pontefract Infirmary

Shaftesbury Hospital

Oxford University

Sierra Leone

Catterick and D-Day


Freda Served Here

Casualty Clearing Stn

The Post War Years

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Charles Blackburne


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The Early Years

The following is part of the life story of Freda Blackburne (nee Laycock) 1918-2003 written by her eldest daughter Kathryn with the kind permission and collaboration of her sister Patricia.


Freda was one of eight children born to Samuel and Elizabeth Laycock of Hensall in West Yorkshire. They were farmers in this small village and committed members of the Methodist Church.

A photograph of a very young Freda 

Freda was born after Thomas (1909-  ), Lawrence (1911-died), Arthur (1912-  ), Edna (1914-1957), Ruth (1916-1920). Her younger siblings were Samuel (1920- ) and Teresa (1922- ).

Opposite is Freda's sister Teresa Laycock who trained as a nurse and worked in Blackpool before meeting John Kitchen and emigrating to New Zealand where they were married in April 1950. Teresa and John had two children - Peter and Anne.

Mum attended the village school along with her siblings, either walking or occasionally going by horse and trap. Whilst at school mum remained in the same class with the same teacher, Mr Hutchinson, for a number of years as this is how it was done.

When attending Sunday School, one year mum was given a book entitled "Sisters of the Red Cross" as a prize. On reading this she decided she wanted to become a nurse.

When she was about 18 she attended an interview at Pontefract General Infirmary where she was accepted for training. This finished about 1940 and she then went to St Luke's at Bradford for her midwifery training.

By now the Second World War had started and our look at mum's life during the war begins.