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Phyllis Court

Military site : non-airfield

Detailed history

Phyllis Court was the last USAAF Rest Home to be opened. Since 1906 it had been operating as an exclusive, country club on the northern edge of Henley on Thames, with grounds extending down to the river. The house dated back to the 1840's although there had been important buildings on the site for 800 years.
Requisitioned in 1939, its wartime occupants included a top secret unit making photo-mosaics and models needed for D Day planning and other major operations. Thus it was not until 18 Dec 1944, after the model-makers had left, that the Rest Home could be opened.
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.
Phyllis Court was set up to accommodate 28 enlisted men. It also became HQ for all the USAAF Rest Homes in the UK.
After the war, Phyllis Court reverted to being the luxurious, riverside, private members' club it remains to the present day.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known


Date Contributor Update
29 April 2015 16:07:13 general ira snapsorter Changes to media associations

Details courtesy of Keith Thomas from his private collection of notes and photographs, and his publication " 'Flak' Houses Then and Now - The Story of American Rest Homes in England During WWII", After The Battle, Battle of Britain International Ltd.

Date Contributor Update
07 March 2015 18:53:33 MikeO Created entry with name, number, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date and history

'Flak' Houses then and now, Thomas, After the Battle.