US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Memories relating to Dursley's previous residents.

US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby dursleyglos » Sat May 22, 2004 4:17 pm

Does anyone have any memories of the time when US soldiers were based in Dursley prior to the D Day landings? I know they were from two Evacuation Hospital medical units (41st and 67th I believe) and many of the men and nurses were billetted in houses around the town and also at Highfields School and Rangers House.

Any information would be very welcome.
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby spe » Tue Nov 23, 2004 4:05 pm

dursleyglos wrote:Does anyone have any memories of the time when US soldiers were based in Dursley prior to the D Day landings? I know they were from two Evacuation Hospital medical units (41st and 67th I believe) and many of the men and nurses were billetted in houses around the town and also at Highfields School and Rangers House.

Any information would be very welcome.


I remember 'helping' to build the nissen huts in the Regal car park. SPE
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby dursleyglos » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:50 pm

spe wrote:I remember 'helping' to build the nissen huts in the Regal car park. SPE


Can you tell me any more? What was involved in "helping"? How many huts were there and where exactly were they positioned? What were they used for?

Thanks
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby cycad » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:50 am

Your original post is getting old but for what it is worth, I lived in Roseberry Rd from my birth in 1942 until about 1948. During the last part of the war, there were 2 US soldiers billeted with us. Both my parents have died so I can't remember their details but I know that we as a family benefited and my mother actually had nylon stockings, we had canned food above the stringent rations of the day and the 'yanks' made me a wooden aeroplane which I was so proud of. I have attached a photo at around my 5th birthday with said plane.
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby dursleyglos » Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:20 pm

Thanks for that David, you definitely look pleased with that aeroplane!

The post is intended to remain open continuously as I'm always looking for additional information.

Best Wishes
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby Heslop » Sat Jun 02, 2012 3:33 pm

I was living with my mother (Dad away in the war) when the Americans were in town. I remember they had small tents with red crosses laid out on the field by the brook, just off the Uley Road! I rememnber two of these Americans threatening to throw me in the brook - reason unknown! I also remember chasing after their trucks for candy or chewing gum - if they had none they used to throw packets of "Lucky Strike" or "Camel" cigarettes! Memories!!!
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby dursleyglos » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:24 pm

Thanks for the memories. Do you recall the soldiers marching through the town as I've seen a few photos of them doing so? Also do you remember the American nurses being in Dursley? Being a medical detachment (two in fact - 41st and 67th Evacuation Hospitals) there were many nurses attached to these units. The 41st left Dursley at 22.00 hours en-route to France on 7th June 1944, the day after D-Day, to treat those wounded after the landings on Omaha beach.
Thanks
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby Heslop » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:10 pm

Sorry Andy, My last post was all I could remember about the Americans. Living in the Highfields estate and being only 5/6 at the time it seemed to me the Americans were there one day and gone the next - no marching or even the sound of vehicle movement gave the game away. Some security that!!!!
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby hawkeye » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:15 pm

It's funny but I have also just started (24 hours ago) to look at the local history surrounding the evacuation hospitals situated in and around Dursley, Tortworth, Wotton under Edge. It's all fascinating stuff. I wonder have you managed to progress your research any further, pictures, etc as its quite difficult to find that much information on their exploits considering some many of the nurses and officers were billeted in local houses for those 5-6 months after they arrived at the end of 1943. There is some film of their stay in the archives.

Here is a link to a picture at Tortworth court.
http://www.worldwarhistoryonline.com/wo ... e-8th-2012
8)
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby Heslop » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:17 am

As I previously posted, as a 5/6 year old I lived close to the fields where the Americans had there tents!! Apart from two americans who threatened to throw me in the brook, my only recollecton is them throwing packets of cigarettes to us when they had run out of "candy"!! As a non-smoker since being diagnosed with emphysema in 1998, I sometimes wonder if my condition was started from those days!!!
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby dursleyglos » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:40 pm

Hi there
Thanks for the message. Most of the information I have relates to the 41st Evacuation Hospital which was based originally at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. They crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary, arriving in Gourock, Scotland. From there they went by train to Dursley, arriving on 22nd November 1943. They then marched to Highfield School which became their HQ as well as providing billets for the enlisted men, along with Rangers House. Officers and nurses were billeted in private accomodation all around the town. The unit stayed in Dursley until 7th June 1944, the day after D-Day, when convoys began leaving the town at 22.00 hours, heading for Truro. On 9th June, the unit boarded the 'James I. McKay' staying on board for a few days before it departed for Omaha Beach, Normandy, where the men and vehicles disembarked on 13th June 1944.
There are lots of stories around the town of their visit. I've also met one of the veterans along with other descendents and am in contact with some.

Do you have any information about the film that is in the archives (Glos Archives I assume). Do you know the reference number as it would be good to see it.

Andy
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby Heslop » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:56 am

Highfields school - there was no Highfields school - not sure whether this was the secondary modern which I wasn't sure was
in existence during the war? At my age at the time I was only aware of the Council and Church of England schools!
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby dursleyglos » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:59 pm

Construction of the school building at Highfields began prior to the war but this ceased at the outbreak of hostilities. However it was finished to such an extent that it could be used for billetting the enlisted men which was what happened when the Americans arrived. After the war ended construction restarted and it eventually opened as Dursley Modern School in 1949. I have a written history of the 41st Evacuation Hospital unit and have spoken to many people who remember them being at Highfields.
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Re: US soldiers in Dursley prior to D-Day

Postby Heslop » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:20 am

Thanks Andy, I started at the grammer school in 1949!!
Best wishes Ron H.
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