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The Story of Kington Camp – How the Americans came to Kington

Huntington Village Hall

The historian, Mari Fforde of Clyro, will be talking about the history of ‘Kington Camp’ and how the now crumbling remains of the concrete and brick huts on the Hergest Road, served as a vital home to huge numbers of British, Polish and American troops during the war. 

 Mari Fforde

Mari Fforde

Kington Camp housed exhausted, battle worn British battalions who had returned from Dunkirk. It was the site of two vast US military hospitals, where GIs, wounded in the frozen battlefields of the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge, were cared for.  It was a resettlement base for many Polish military units, who, having fought for Europe’s freedom, found their homeland occupied by the Soviet Union. It also became a home for many who found themselves displaced after the war.

 The camp – photo courtesy of Phyllis Williams

The camp – photo courtesy of Phyllis Williams

Mari Fforde will bring the human stories of the people and their descendants who still live here, to life. 

Unpublished archive film was recently discovered which shows Kington in 1945. The footage features the Kington Camp military hospital and Hereford on VE Day.  An American soldier, Corporal Clarke Morgan, who was posted to the 107th Hospital in Kington in 1944, took this remarkable film.  The film shows the hospital in Kington and also features a bus ride to Hereford for VE Day celebrations. Surprisingly the footage is also in colour and shows the US troops packing up to leave Kington and then boarding the Queen Mary for their return to New York. While crossing the Atlantic a huge airship sails overhead. This is caught on film along with shots of the ship pulling into New York Harbour, with the Statue of Liberty standing proud.

 Many wounded stayed on in Kington 

Many wounded stayed on in Kington 

The footage, described by the Senior Curator at the Imperial War Museum as ‘the stuff of dreams’ has now been acquired by the Imperial War Museum and forms part of their collection where it will be digitised and stored safely.

This, we consider, is an event, not to be missed.  Due to the large expected numbers, the talk will take place in Huntington Village Hall.

There will be wine and canapés after the talk.