Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please read!!!!

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by JayneUK, Feb 27, 2008.

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  1. I am trying to find information on a temporary American war hospital that was constructed by the 'seabees' during the 1940's in Milford Haven, West Wales, UK.

    My property has been built on the site where we believe the hospital was erected in 'Nissan huts'. The property we live in was built on that area and I am very interested to find out more of the history of it. I would be very grateful if you could let me know anything you know about it and indeed if there is any way of contacting anyone who would have served in it.

    Apparently, the hospital was built to cope with the expected 1200 casualties of the Normandy invasion but losses were not as great as feared and only 120 casualties attended the hospital.

    I would be most grateful if you would be so kind as to let me know anything you can about this era or if you could point me in the direction of someone who could? Really am hoping to hear from someone who served or attended it or knows someone who did!!
     
  2. US Army Corps of Engineers PAO might help although if done by ceebees try the 2nd best navy in the world's PAO instead

    In case anyone is wondering the RN is the Premier Navy that sails the sea
     
  3. And the designer of the huts wasn't Japanese, but Major NISSEN of the Royal Engineers!!!

    Incidentally, if they were built by the septics, they'd be Quonset Huts, which is what they called them...
     
  4. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    The hospital would be a Naval one.
    Have you see this:
    http://archive.westerntelegraph.co.uk/2004/6/16/4065.html
     
  5. From Quonset Point in Rhode Island!
     
  6. Hi Jayne, I've had a look around the area on the air photo facility on Rightmove! It has superb quality imagery there and it also displays street names.

    There's some open ground just north of a football field between Picton Road and Gelliswick Road.

    If you've ever watched Time Team, you'll know what "parch marks" are. Well, there are some very straight marks in this open ground that suggest that building were once on the site.

    You could also try your local planning authorities or County archives.

    I'm going to try and find some US Archive sites as well...
     
  7. I'll stress now that I'm operating in terms of OPINION rather than anything much more conclusive.

    I've looked at this area using Virtual Earth (what Rightmove uses - Google Earth is low definition in this area)( http://maps.live.com/ )and spotted the straight lines (but don't be confused by the telegraph poles and their shadows in the centre of the field). It's not quite what I'd expect as I'd be anticipating distinct rectangles from the concrete bases (or where the bases were) of the Quonset huts.

    If this site had anything to do with the Seabees, I'd be inclined to suspect that it was part of the works at Hakin.

    Earlier references put the hospital in a field northwest of Milford Haven, which is on the opposite side of the Hubberston Pill (the river that feeds into the Docks area). I've looked at the 1937 OS map of the area (via www.old-maps.co.uk ) to see what fields were available at that time.

    My gut feeling is that the hospital may have been sited in the area now known as Priory Lodge Estate.

    If you look (physically - the satellite images aren't clear enough) in the area of (apparently undeveloped, according to the Virtual Earth image) land to the west of the centre of George St and also to the square field (sorry if it's garden!) at 51deg 43'00.10N, 5deg 01'10.99"W (Google Earth reference), you may find traces of the concrete bases.

    This would have been a handy place to put a military hospital in view of the presence of a church (and presumably graveyard) near the corner of St David's Road and George Street.

    Having said that, it could equally as well have been sited to the south of Cromwell Road (what is that place that's there now?) or just about anywhere else for that matter.

    If it were a bit closer to me, I'd be tempted to have a dig about myself, but it's a bit distant (and Welsh! :) ).
     
  8. Hello guys and thank you all for your help!
    I live In picton road in the close and it its at the bottom of the close (numbers 21 22 and 23) where the military hospital was.
     
  9. Yep, I was going on the Post Code given to me by Jayne and her original post where she indicates that her home is built on the site of the Hospital.

    I was just wondering if there were any other permanent structures on the site which could have been incorporated into the Hospital?

    I suppose a look at some old 6" = 1 Mile maps might help.
     
  10. Unfortunately, if you do look at the old maps, you'll find that Jayne's place was (in 1936) in Hakin, this being quite a large area at the time, and therefore may be the site of the "additional facilities."

    Chez Jayne is also located to the west or even southwest of the town of Milford Haven, so it doesn't tie in with the description of a field to the north west of the town.

    It could be worth investigating whether the Priory Lodge (next to the area that I suggested) was ever intended for use by convalescing patients. Also a visit to the local museum may unearth some street maps prior to the development of the Priory Lodge Estate.
     
  11. It was definately built on this site, it was a field.
    There was a hall called the Fairbairn Hall where the local girls used to meet up with the GI's
    81st Construction Battalion were who built the hospital.
     
  12. According to R. W. Thompson's D-Day - Spearhead of Invasion (Ballantyne Books, New York 1968), the US 5th Corps 2nd Infantry Division was billeted in south west Wales prior to D-Day. The US 7th Corps 90th Division was billeted in south east Wales.
     
  13. Fairbairn Hall didn't seem to exist in 1937. There were some War Department buildings to the south of Picton Road, a building called "Half Ploughland" to the west of the end of Picton Road and a disused observatory where Observatory Road is now. Other than that, the map shows only some houses on Picton Road itself.

    Notably, the house on the right as you enter the present Picton Close appears to predate 1937 while there is a further pre-1937 building further west on Picton Road. It seems odd that, with plenty of empty fields around, the US Engineers would choose to construct a hospital with access between dwellings. Petriburg has suggested the most likely place for a medical (or, indeed, any other military) facility in your area. Soldiers tend to avoid existing civilian buildings unless they can be requisitioned and put into use.

    I wouldn't dispute that there may have been some US construction in your area, but the description given in my earlier quote suggests that it wasn't THE hospital. It may have been a smaller medical facility, possibly for use by the US troops while training in Gelliswick Bay. The geography suggests that this site would be difficult to access by ships returning from Normandy.