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Photos courtesy of Vicky & Helena Maidwell
Melchbourne Park

The house when the Americans were there
The house when the Americans were stationed there - with a cycle shed

The Parks and Lakes in front of the mansion were probably created in the second part of the 18th century, with part of the parks being enclosed as a deer park, mentioned when in 1766 the St. Johns still at Woodford, were short of funds and in consequence, had to sell the deer. Melchbourne Park remained the property of the St John family till just before World War II, and during that war the house was occupied for a time by the United States Air Corps. It housed a photographic unit, and at least 100 G.I.s who slept in the long gallery on the second floor. It was also a place of entertainment in their leisure time for the American troops in the area. Glenn Miller and his band played there on a number of occasions before his disappearance on a flight to France in 1944. At the top of the park and in the woods beyond, bombs were stored, which at the end of the war were destroyed on the spot and the sites surrounded by iron railings.
The Parks were mostly ploughed up during the war, and have remained arable. The farms, in the parish of Melchbourne which were part of the estates of the St. John family until the 1930s, have all changed hands. The woodlands surrounding the parks have been replanted, with the exception of the main Coppice Wood which remains the property of the Ministry.

Melchbourne Park plaque
Home of the
2003rd Ordnance Maintenance Co.
8th Air Force Service Command
United States of America
Station 572 - Melchbourne Park,
Bedfordshire, England

August 1943 to December 1945

Plaque on the front of Melchbourne Park

Signatures Signatures
Back Row (left-right) - signatures
Some of the serving officers at Melchbourne
Front Row (left-right) - signatures
'Yours truly' was Muriel Glenn
The note by Captain Hunt's signature reads "Returned to States following day"

Men at the Park
Another group at Melchbourne Park - but we don't have any names
A postcard
This postcard is titled "American Red Cross Clubmobile - somewhere in Great Britain", and on the back tells us it was "staffed by American girls bringing hot coffee and doughnuts to U S Forces overseas"

Event not known unknown
Muriel Glenn is on the right

Unveiling the plaque Unveiling the plaque
Two photographs taken when the plaque was unveiled

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