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Roke Manor

Military site : non-airfield

Detailed history

Although Roke Manor had been requisitioned for military use in 1940, it was not until April 1944 that it could be released to become a USAAF Rest Home. A mile to the northwest of Romsey in Hampshire and immediately to the south of the Rest Home at Stanbridge Earls, Roke Manor was an historic country house and estate.
For USAAF combat air crews in the UK, home leave was impossible. So the doctors responsible for their well-being believed the next best thing would be Rest Homes, using the tranquillity, comfort and freedom from military routine achievable at English country houses or hotels.
Aircrew could, at least once during their tour, come for a week away from the horrors of war. After which it was hoped they would return to their units, refreshed.
At the rest home, they were provided with civilian clothes. Uniforms only appeared for the evening dinner. Air Service Command supplied an administrative commanding officer, an adjutant and enlisted helpers. A Medical Officer, rotated each week from operational units, provided any necessary emergency care or medical advice.
American Red Cross girls acted as hostesses, supervising the recreation and dining. The American Red Cross also employed and managed the civilian staff needed to run the house and maintain the grounds.
Roke Manor was set up to accommodate 25 officers and was allocated to the 1st Bomb Division.
A brewing family - the Ansells - had become the owners in 1935 but in 1950 the family was hit with crippling death duties and the house was closed. By 1956 the estate and house had been bought by an electronics company as a research facility. It is now home to Roke Manor Research Ltd. With additional buildings and updated security arrangements, it is an important centre for electronic research.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known


Date Contributor Update
03 March 2015 19:46:24 MikeO Created entry with name, number, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date and history

Report to the Surgeon, HQ Eighth Air Force, dated 11 December 1944; Flak Houses Then and Now, Thomas, After the Battle