Stanbridge Earls "flak house"
One of the first "rest homes" established by the 8th AF for an "R&R" retreat for combat crews
Lieutenant James D Baird (standing) and Captain James R Bullock enjoy a spot of trout fishing on the banks of the River Test in Hampshire. Lieutenant Baird is the pilot of a 'Fort' (B17 Flying Fortress) from Suring, Wisconsin and Captain Bullock is a B17 navigator from Greensboro, North Carolina. According to the original caption: "These fighters expected trout fishing to bore them, were genuinely surprised and pleased by the enjoyment it gave in spite of little success in the shape of fish.
A group of American airmen staying at Stanbridge Earls consult a map in the sunshine before setting off on their cycle ride to the New Forest. Left to right, they are: Captain Robert W Smith (from Pomona, California), Lieutenant James D Baird (from Suring, Wisconsin), Miss Kathleen Deane (from Connecticut and one of the American Red Cross hostesses working at the club) and Lieutenant E T Broadnax (from Bastrup, Louisiana)
American airmen staying at Stanbridge Earls in Hampshire decide to go for a picnic in the New Forest, which is about 3 miles away. It is decided that half the group will cycle and half the group will travel by jeep, and they will swap over for the return journey. Here, the cyclists check the route on a map in the sunshine before they set off from the grounds of the large country house. Left to right, they are: Captain Bullock, Captain Smith, Lieutenant Baird, Miss Kathleen Deane (one of the American Red Cross hostesses at the home), Lieutenant Broadnax and another unidentified airmen.
USAAF Fliers set off on bikes to seek a picnic site. They are leaving Stanbridge Earls, which has been converted into a rest home for 8th U.S. Air Force officers. Among the cyclists are Mrs. Pamela Hanna, Red Cross hostess, left, of Cleveland, and Kay Dean of Hartford, the lone rider at rear.
Edward Brodnax, Jim Billock, James D. Baird - fishing on River Test while staying at Standbridge Earls rest home (Flak Hotel), Romsey, UK ( Life Magazine, 5-aug-1943)
Stanbridge Earls was the first Rest Home opened by the USAAF. It was a large, historic, country house and estate located a mile and a half north west of Romsey in Hampshire.
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.
Stanbridge Earls was set up to accommodate 30 officers and was allocated to men from the 1st Air Division, until the end of the war in Europe
In September 1952, it became a residential, co-educational, special needs school but closed in September 2013.
English Heritage's record description
Not yet known
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