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Wimpole Park

This page last updated on: Saturday 26 April, 2003

Wimpole Park
Photographs 1944-1960

Between 1944 and 1960 Wimpole Park was host in turn to an American Hospital treating army casualties of war, a squatters camp, an experimental teacher training college, a community school, emergency local authority housing, and lastly a US Air Force Hospital best remembered for being the 'place-of-birth' for hundreds of Americans.

During 1959/1961, the USAF Hospital was decommissioned and all the buildings and roads were completely removed. Wimpole Park was returned to arable pasture.

This page contains some contemporary photographs of the Wimpole Park facility and of the people who worked there. There are some additional photographs of pupils on the Wimpole School page and of the final demolition work on the Return to Pasture page.

I receive many requests for photographs, especially for Wimpole Park at the time the site was being used by the 7510 USAF Hospital. If you have any photographs of Wimpole Park between 1944 and 1959 that you feel would be of interest, then please e-mail a scanned image direct to Steve Odell with all available details.

See also: Site Photographs which shows Wimpole Park as it is today.

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163rd General Army Hospital

Personnel of the 163rd General Army Hospital
Photograph taken at Camp Grant, Illinois on 7 August 1944
prior to embarkation to Wimpole Park.
The 163rd General Hospital was activated 7 July 1944 and was the last US Army Hospital in East Anglia to become operational. The unit arrived in ETO 7 September 1944.
The unit opened for patients 5 October 1944.

The above photograph is in three parts.
Click on each part or use left centre or right to bring up a full screen image.

Photograph kindly supplied by Darden Newman

Lt. Colonel John H. Lesher MC.
Knoxville, Tennessee.
John Lesher was the second Commanding Officer of the 163rd General Army Hospital
at Wimpole Park.

Photograph kindly supplied by Darden Newman.

Training College 1947-1950

 
(top left) Wimpole Park students, possibly grouped in front of 'Cromwell' Court. (Mrs Belton (nee Freer)) (top right) 1949/50 Left to right: Doris Whitehead, Margaret Jopling, Helen Boyd, Betty Barnes and Pam Ford outside 'Cromwell' Court. (Miss D Whitehead)
(lower left) 1949/50 Left to right: Doreen Digby, C Houghton and Joan Marais standing in front of Wimpole Hall. (Mrs Peers (nee 'Pixie' Taylor)) (lower right) Group of Wimpole Park students. (Mrs Belton (nee Freer))

Wimpole Park c1950

Wimpole Park c1950
The Wimpole Park site photographed from the hill, looking due south-east.

This photograph is taken from the Cambridge Collection.

Wimpole Park Huts c1950.
The site appears untidy and unkempt so it is assumed the picture was taken after the Training College closed in 1950 but before the arrival of the 7510 USAF Hospital in 1952.

Click on the photograph to bring up a full screen image.

Photograph kindly supplied by Chris Pluck.

Demolition 1960

During 1959 the USAF Hospital was decommissioned and all the buildings and roads were completely removed by a Royal Air Force unit during 1960 and 1961. Wimpole Park was returned to arable pasture.

The remains of one of the wards can be seen (left) behind a Bray loading shovel. Brick/concrete stock piles surround a Goodwin Goliath primary crusher (right). Most of the crushed demolition material was used in the foundations of the Biggleswade bypass.

Click on the photograph to bring up a full screen image.

The same area as the photograph above but taken from higher up the hill giving a good view southwards over the Wimpole Park site. The tipper lorry is unloading bricks and concrete rubble into the crusher.

Click on the photograph to bring up a full screen image.

Demolition photographs kindly supplied by Pat Honey.
5003 Squadron (Wimpole Detachment)

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For further information see:
Wimpole Park Index
163rd US Army Hospital
Wimpole Park Training College
Wimpole Park School

7510 USAF Hospital
Wimpole Hall
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This page last updated on: Saturday 26 April, 2003
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