Mary Ann Laycock

The Women's Land Army badge. This is a brass badge with a sheaf of corn in the centre and a King's crown at the top. Around the edge it says Women's Land Army.Women's Land Army page

Mary Ann Laycock

Women's Land Army

Early Life:

Little is known about Mary's early life, she is born 9th October 1919 but her parents are unknown, except that her mother's maiden name is Lilley. She cannot be found on the 1939 Register.

In the 1921 census she was aged one year and nine months old and living at Green Bottom Farm in Newsholme, with her parents Frank aged 47, and May Laycock aged 30 on home duties; and her two brothers Joseph aged ten and Jack aged six and sister Marian aged three who were all at school.

War Service:

On the 3rd September 1941 Mary joins the Women's Land Army (WLA). She is living at Greenbottom Farm, Newsholme, Keighley. Her present occupation is as a clerk but she records her usual occupation as a sewing machinist. In August 1942 she is transferred to Devon and stays there until she is demobbed in 1945.

Later Life:

On 21st July 1945 Mary became a GI bride marrying 1st Lieutenant William H Christy in the US Army. On the 16th April in 1946 she and William sailed on the Queen Mary to America to start their new life in Oregon.

The Queen Mary was part of the story of Operation War Bride in 1945. It was part of 29 American ships allocated to transporting wives and children to America. The US Embassy was receiving up to 500 visits a day from war brides. When widower Eleanor Roosevelt visited London in November 1945 an angry mob of brides with their babies besieged her hotel with placards saying 'We Demand Ships' and 'We Want Our Dads'. Congress passed the War Brides Act in December 1945 that gave the brides of US servicemen non-quota immigration status. This meant that difficulties with immigration for war brides and dependents into America were eased and sailings began. There were also other sailings to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Mary was widowed in 1990, when her husband William died at the age of 70 years they had been married for 45 years. She lived another 20 years and died aged 90 years on the 20th February 2010 in Portland, Oregon and is buried alongside her husband at the Skyline Memorial Gardens.

Information Sources:

England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005
UK, World War II Women's Land Army Index Cards, 1939-1948 [database on-line] The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-
UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [database on-line]. Marriage Index, 1800s-1999 Corvallis Gazette-Times; Publication Date: 11/ Aug/ 1945; Publication Place: Corvallis, Oregon,

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