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Moulsford Manor

Military site : non-airfield

Run by the American Red Cross, Moulsford Manor 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.

The history of Moulsford Manor dates back to the 1100s and after changing hands many times, it become a hotel in 1929, and continued as such until it was taken over by the USAAF in May 1943 until 1945.

Detailed history

The village of Moulsford in Oxfordshire lies four miles south of Wallingford. The Manor is a fine, historic, country home, located on the banks of the Thames. Prior to WW2 it had been operated as a hotel. Opening on 13 May 1943, it was the third Rest Home to be established. It became closely associated with Buckland House, which opened three months later.

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.

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.

Moulsford Manor was initially set up to house enlisted men, but later became home to 35 officers. As of November 1944, 10 rooms had been made available to the Ninth Air Force, with the remainder allocated to the 3rd Air Division, Eighth Air Force.

Since the war, the Manor has changed owners and role on several occasions but reverted to being a private home in 1994.

English Heritage's record description

Not yet known

Service

People

  • James Bowcock

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down 26 July 1943 in B-17 #42-3119. Plane ditched in North Sea. Returned to base. Shot down 17 August 1943 in B-17 #41-24453 'Mizpah/ The Bearded Beauty/ The Bearded Lady'. Prisoner of War (POW). POW

  • Robert Burry

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Ball Turret Gunner | 303rd Bomb Group
    Robert L Burry was killed on 15 December 1944 returning from a mission on Kassel. Weather became very heavily overcast and the aircraft was trying to land using radio beacons. They hit the radio tower at Daventry and all of the crew members who did not...

  • Victor Ciganek

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio Operator | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Sgt Victor Ciganek was assigned to the 91st Bomb Group 322nd Squadron based at Bassingbourn. Victor served as radio operator on the B-17 # 42-3119 "Destiny's Tot" on the Hamburg mission of 26 July 1943. Upon returning the B-17 ditched into the North...

  • Albert DiMinno

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Shot down 26 July 1943 in B-17 #42-3119. Plane ditched in North Sea. Returned to base. Shot down 17 August 1943 in B-17 #42-2990 'Dame Satan', Evaded (EVD).

  • John Mulchrone

    Military | Technical Sergeant | Radio operator Gunner | 92nd Bomb Group Fame's Favoured Few
    Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters

  • Gerald Tucker

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Right Waist Gunner | 91st Bomb Group The Ragged Irregulars
    Sgt Gerald Tucker (whose first name is often misspelled Gerold) was Right Waist Gunner on B-17 #42-3119 when it was shot down on the Hamburg mission of 26 July 1943. The plane ditched in the North Sea and all ten crew were saved and returned to base....

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
31 March 2015 12:54:56 Lucy May Changes to description and history
Sources

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

Date Contributor Update
04 March 2015 18:07:22 MikeO Changes to name, latitude, longitude, usaaf from date, usaaf to date and history
Sources

Report to Surgeon, HQ, Eighth Air Force 11 December 1944; 'Flak' Houses Then And Now, Thomas, After the Battle

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:02:17 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

Barry Anderson, Army Air Forces Stations (Alabama, 1985) / D A Lande, from Somewhere in England (Airlife Publishing, UK, 1991).
http://www.berkshirehistory.com/castles/moulsford_manor.html

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