Located about 3 miles NE of Witney in Oxfordshire, the large, Jacobean-style mansion called Eynsham Hall was only completed in 1908, although there had been important buildings on the site for 300 years prior to that. With extensive grounds and gardens, it was well suited to becoming a USAAF Rest Home. Of all the country houses in the programme, Eynsham Hall had the greatest capacity.
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.
On arrival 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.
Eynsham Hall joined the programme on July 22nd 1944. It was set up to accommodate 65 officers and was allocated to the 3rd Bomb Division.
After the war, it became a Police Training Centre, remaining in that role until 1981. Thereafter it has been used as a conference centre. With some modernisation but retaining much of its original ambience, Eynsham Hall is now a prestigious hotel, conference and wedding venue
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|22 March 2015 20:15:27||MikeO||Created entry with name, number, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date and history|
Report to the Surgeon, HQ Eighth Air Force dated 11 Dec 1944; 'Flak' Houses Then and Now, Thomas, After the Battle.