Dan Steele

Photographic Colourist

US Airmen take R&R at Stanbridge Earls, Romsey

USAAF B-17 airmen Lt J. D. Baird (standing) and Cpt J. R. Bullock enjoy fishing on the banks of the River Test, Hampshire. 1943.

Colour by Dan Steele

Stanbridge Earls is a manor house estate situated in Awbridge just outside of Romsey in Hampshire.

During the Second World War in Europe, the USAAF needed a way to provide R&R to help their crews recover from combat fatigue whilst they were stationed in the UK. It was decided that they should make use of the tranquil British countryside, and set up retreats and rest homes. The first such place was at Stanbridge Earls1.

I’ve picked this image from a series of photographs held in the IWM archives showing life at Stanbridge Earls. It shows two airmen who were usually found as part of the crew of a Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress”. Today they are enjoying fishing on the River Test, on what appears to be the grounds of the manor house, and they look quite at ease.

“Lieutenant J D Baird (standing) and Captain J 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.” © IWM D 14524
  1. http://www.americanairmuseum.com/place/134909

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