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Military site : non-airfield

Run by the American Red Cross, Southport was one of 16 country houses or 'flak homes' which housed airmen for Rest and Recuperation away from the stress of flying missions. Each serviceman was entitled to at least one rest period during their 25-30 mission tour.

Southport was the largest of all of the Rest Homes and by the end of the war 15,000 men had passed through its doors.

Detailed history

The Southport Rest Home was activated by the American Red Cross on 19th February 1943 by taking over the very large Birkdale Palace Hotel, to the south of the town.

However the 8th Air Force Medical experts, responsible for the R & R program, felt the place lacked the proper ambience and facilities and preferred to use country house accommodation whenever possible.

During a German raid in 1943 it was thought that the Palace Hotel was one of the intended targets - unfortunately the bomb fell on Dr. Barnardo's Sunshine Home For Blind Babies, with considerable loss of life.

As of November 1944, the capacity of the Southport Rest Home was 50 Officers and 100 Enlisted Men. Two thirds of the rooms had been allocated to the Ninth Air Force.

Post war, the hotel had a chequered history leading eventually to its demolition and replacement by a housing development known as Ascot Place.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known



  • George James

    Military | Colonel | Pilot | 323rd Bomb Group
    George T James served as a pilot with the 9th Air Force. He flew B-26 Marauders with the 391st Bomb Group. ...


Date Contributor Update
31 March 2015 12:01:27 Lucy May Changes to description and history

Reworked the balance of information between the station summary field and the detailed history field.

Date Contributor Update
22 March 2015 20:23:43 MikeO Changes to history

Report to the Surgeon, HQ Eighth Air Force dated 11 Dec 1944.

Date Contributor Update
11 March 2015 08:34:55 MikeO Changes to usaaf from date, usaaf to date, construction date and closure date

'Flak' Houses Then and Now, Thomas, After the Battle

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2014 18:25:28 MikeO Changes to history

Report to the Surgeon, HQ 8th AF, dated 11 Dec 1944.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:18 AAM AAM ingest

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / D A Lande, from Somewhere in England (Airlife Publishing, UK, 1991)