Europe, December 1944
My crew had 7 glorious days of long needed rest and relaxation before our last tour of duty. The officers went to Knightshayes in Tiverton and the enlisted men went to South Port Rest Home in Birkdale (view original R&R Orders).
It was the first time in Europe that I wore civilian clothes. The facility was gorgeous and luscious but a typical cold and drafty 60-70 room British mansion with a grand central stairway and old fashioned plumbing.
Sir John and Lady Amory (the owners) graciously moved to the gardener’s quarters and offered their home to the Americans in the 8th Air Force. It had an elegant dining room, beautiful gardens and trimmed hedges, and even a miniature golf course. Also, there was an indoor squash court which was totally knew to this stickball playing guy from New York City.
It was located on a couple of thousand acres in Tiverton – Taunton in the SW corner of England. Sir John was the largest landowner in this part of England and the owner of a silk mill.
The Red Cross gals ran the place and bused in British gals for dances. I even had the pleasure of smoking my pipe.