Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wretham Hall as remembered by Albert G. Homeyer, 368th Fighter Squadron pilot, 359th Fighter Group

Wretham Hall, one mile from East Wretham Airfield USAAF Station Number 133, six miles northeast of Thetford in Norfolk. Photo courtesy of Thomas P. Smith: Archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association.

The Royal Air Force requisitioned Wretham Hall, located approximately one mile from the airfield, for use as an officers’ mess. East Wretham and its various hangars and buildings as well as Wretham Hall officially transferred to United States forces in July 1943 with the three fighter groups arriving that autumn.

“When we first occupied the lodge, we had bat boys whose duties were to shine our boots, make up the bunks, hang up our clothing, keep the room clean, etc. They were found to be in the way and also none of us were accustomed to being waited on hand and foot, so to speak, so they were dismissed after the first week or so and probably went back to the RAF.

The sleeping accommodations supplied were old iron double bunk beds with mattresses consisting of three pillow-like sections and during the night they would slide apart making it very uncomfortable. Within a few days regular mattresses appeared. I was awed by the bathrooms which were all marble motif. I believe there were about four bathrooms on each of the second and third floors. Each being large enough to accommodate about six people. Being a ladies hunting lodge there were bidets which were unfamiliar but we found could be used to wash ones feet. Before we arrived hundreds of mounted deer heads had been removed from the rooms and stored in the attic. I wonder what happened to them?

I was told the lodge consisted of 365 windows, 52 rooms and 4 entrances.

The outside surroundings were a game preserve. When one walked out the front entrance there were pheasants feeding and they were as tame as chickens. About a mile to the west was an artillery range and there were hundreds of shell holes, and in the walls of the holes were rabbit holes or nests. Every so often a couple of us would get our skeet guns and go shoot a dozen or so rabbits and give them to the enlisted personnel and they would have a barbecue.”


Description of Wretham Hall archived by Char Baldridge, Historian, 359th Fighter Group Association. Posted here and on the 359th Fighter Group Facebook page by Janet Fogg.

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