Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Walhampton House

Military site : non-airfield

Run by the American Red Cross, Walhampton House 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.

Walhampton House was used by the USAAF for 18 months during the Second World War. The building is now a preparatory school called Hordle Walhampton School.

Detailed history

An historic country mansion, originally built in the Queen Anne style but with extensive Victorian additions, Walhampton House lies just to the east of Lymington in Hampshire.

The house and gardens were very fine and the grounds extended to about 100 acres. With its New Forest location and views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight, it represented an ideal site for a USAAF Rest Home.

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 tranquility, 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.

Walhampton House was owned by the Burrard family by the 1670s. On the death of Admiral Sir Harry Burrard-Neale in the 1840s, it passed through a number of hands before being opened as a Rest Home on 17th February 1944. It was set up to accommodate 50 enlisted men and was allocated to the 3rd Bomb Division.

Shortly after the war it was turned into a school. Now, with many new buildings and facilities, Walhampton is a 330-place independent day and boarding school for children aged from 2 to 13.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known


Date Contributor Update
31 March 2015 13:23:17 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
11 March 2015 22:02:19 MikeO Changes to 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.

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

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / Roger Freeman, The Mighty Eighth War Manual (London, 1991) p142
Malcolm A. Holland, Sweatin' out the mission: 8th Air Force Ground Support in World War Two (The history Press, Stroud, 2010).
D A Lande, ' from Somewhere in England (Airlife Publishing, UK, 1991).