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Sergeant Reff Laycock

 
 

Harrogate Herald - 7th April 1915

Private R Laycock, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, writing home, says :

Dear Mother, Many thanks for your last parcel. It was very welcome, I can assure you. I have not received either parcel of cigarettes which uncle sent, which is a great pity, as they are getting much scarcer than they used to be. We have been having a rough time of it lately. We had five days and five nights' continuous fighting, without a rest of any description. And it was fighting, I can tell you. Only one word will describe it, and that word is "hell". The first morning we started with the biggest bombardment that has ever been known. There were about 500 big guns firing continuously almost all day at the rate of about five shells per minute per gun. The noise was absolutely deafening. It was a grand sight to see our infantry advancing under the Germans' most murderous fire. It did not matter how many fell, nothing on earth would stop them going forward. We were one of the first regiments to get into the firing line, and we knew about it I can tell you. When we were in the thick of it we had no time to think about anything, but afterwards when we had the time to look around us, the sights we saw were of the most horrible nature I ever thought or dreamt about; in fact, no words will describe it. I consider myself one of the luckiest persons living to go through the whole five days of it without a scratch. The second day we were stuck in a little ditch on the roadside for three hours while the enemy bombarded us with "Jack Johnsons", and that is anything but entertaining. Many thanks for the Sunday papers. They are very acceptable, I can assure you.

Yours affectionately, Reff.

 

Harrogate Herald - 14th April 1915

Private R Laycock, whose letter appeared in the Herald last week, is in B Company, 2nd West Yorkshire Regiment, and not the Royal Army Medical Corps. He is the son of the late Mr T [Thomas] Laycock and Mrs Laycock, East Parade, [2 Grosvenor Villas, 23 East Parade] Harrogate.

 

Harrogate Herald - 14th February 1917

W H Breare letter

A large number of non-commissioned officers are coming from the Front on a month's leave preparatory to entering Officers' Training Corps, and receiving a commission. A number of Harrogate boys have this prospect in view. I mentioned one last week. I have another, viz., Corporal A E Garnett. He went out in March, 1915, was wounded in an advance, and reported missing, but at that time he was already in hospital. Garnett has seen Reff Laycock, who is at Brigade Headquarters using his pen to some effect. Captain Freeman, of Bilton Court, [Son of ? Walter Freeman, JP, Bilton Court, Wetherby Lane] went out at the same time as Corporal Garnett. My visitor before the war was manager for the West Riding Dairy Company in Station Parade. Tom Spencer of Spencer Brothers, fruiterers, Cambridge Street, was one of Garnett's comrades, and my visitor left his Herald with Spencer when he came away. Garnett will not need one for some time, so I am going to send it to Tom Spencer as soon as I obtain his full address. I am sure Spencer will think it much better to have a Herald all his own and directed to him rather than to inherit the one which has come in Garnett's name.

 

Harrogate Herald - 25th April 1917

The following are men who have sent us the Army post-card briefly stating that they are well and have received papers and parcels, or whose letters contain views that have repeatedly been expressed by other correspondents, but show their friends that they are all right :

Reff Laycock

 

Harrogate Herald - 16th May 1917

W H Breare letter

Just before leaving Stanley Laycock. Of RNAS, gave me a call. He is the younger son of the late Mr T and Mrs Laycock, of Harrogate. There was a tinge of sadness in his visit, as he had been brought home by the death of his uncle, who passed away on Sunday morning at 7 o'clock. Stanley's brother, Reff, it will be remembered, was over from France a short while ago, and was unable to get leave again. Stanley is engaged in chasing German submarines, having joined the Navy for four years since the war began, and has nearly finished two years service. He joined up with young Dixon, son of Mr F W Dixon, the ex-Borough Waterworks Engineer. Stanley has the bright and breezy air characteristic of the sailor, and looks remarkably well.

 

Harrogate Herald - 30th May 1917

The following are men who have sent us the Army post-card briefly stating that they are well and have received papers and parcels, or whose letters contain views that have repeatedly been expressed by other correspondents, but show their friends that they are all right :

Sergeant Reff Laycock

 

Harrogate Herald - 30th May 1917

W H Breare letter

When Reff Laycock was in to see me last he was a private. He is now promoted to Sergeant.

 

Harrogate Herald - 27th June 1917

W H Breare letter

"It did one good to see his smile!" I don't know how it is, but you can generally trust a woman to realise by instinct that which would escape a mere man. As it was getting near a meal time one day a daughter-in-law of mine looked round my office door, paused, then retired. The fact was I had one of my soldier boys with me. He turned his head to see who was coming and smiled. The opening words of this paragraph were uttered by my daughter-in-law to a lady friend outside, who she regretted had not caught sight of the soldier's happy face. The boy was my friend Lance Corporal J Houseman, of a Yorkshire battalion of Regulars. Only on Saturday he had been wed to Lizzie Malloy, of Harlow Hill. My daughter returned the smile, for she felt the man was associated with some pleasant incident. That is why I remark they somehow instinctively see and feel much that we men are blind to. She was right! Houseman has a contagious smile. He is as bright and jolly a chap as I have seen for a long while - all this after being in hospital since April 20th [maybe 26th] at Rouen where happily, strange to say, he was under the patient care of Dr H Douglas Wilson, of Ripon Road, Harrogate. Houseman is just now on leave, but will soon go to one of the home camps. He has been out two years and three months, untouched, until rheumatic fever got him. I was interested to hear that with him is Tom Spencer, the fruiterer. They are great pals. Then Reff Laycock is of the same lot. I was very disappointed to find that, though Houseman's wife was just outside, she didn't like to come in, and so I missed seeing her. Never mind, I have no doubt I shall see her on some future occasion, and I hope that will never be a sad one. Now, lads, let us all stop breathing a second or two and wish Lance Corporal Houseman and his bride every happiness, he'll do as much for you when you get home and have reached the happy marriage state.

 

Harrogate Herald - 19th September 1917

W H Breare letter

Reff Laycock is on leave, and I have seen him this morning. He is looking very well and enjoying the sunshine that is favouring us now.

 

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