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In 1942 it was recognised that there would be a need for Rest Homes for US airmen & the first one to be set up & operated by US Army Service Command, was at Standbridge Earls, Romsey in Hampshire on 28th December 1942.
These Rest Homes were establishments available to flight crews who had completed about half of their tour of duty & were given a week's leave to recharge their batteries before continuing their tour.
However it was soon realised that for effective short-term results, it would be necessary to create an atmosphere in the new R & R centres which was as un-military as possible, so the American Red Cross were called in & the responsibilty for the programme was delegated to them.
It was the job of the Red Cross girls to encourage the men to get their minds off the war & for a short time relax & enjoy life. These were happy days in the midst of a horrendous war.
Why were Rest homes dubbed "Flak Houses"? - the acronym for anti-aircraft gun-fire (from the German Fliegerabwehrkanonen) had been picked up by Allied aircrews in preference to the First World War 'archie' or later 'ack-ack'. Flak caused much stress & anxiety among crew-men hence the black humour in adopting the word to describe just the opposite.
The Flak Houses were usually situated in large country mansions or hotels which had been requisitioned by the Air Ministry for the USAAF.
As soon as the war was over, all the Flak Houses were closed, they had handled 900 crewman per week & for the last two years of the war some 87,000 men passed through the R & R system.
This book covers in detail all 21 of the Rest Homes with 'then & now', aircrew & Red Cross staff pics plus a location map.

Author; Keith Thomas
Binding: Card cover, 80 pgs
Condition: New
Publisher: Battle of Britain International Ltd

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  • Seller location: Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, NZ

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