Memories of being billeted at Hatfield House
Written by George Butler
My bed was a palliasse at the foot of a gigantic staircase. All around me were massive oil paintings hanging on the walls.
In the weeks I was billeted at Hatfield House I was never allowed to go up those stairs to find out what was beyond.
I remember arriving as a member of the 2nd Battalion East Yorkshire Regimentís Carrier Platoon and Motor Cycling Platoon as one of the first members of HM Forces to be billeted at Hatfield House during WW2.
We were given temporary accommodation in this grand country house because between the evacuation from Dunkirk and the invasion on D Day into Normandy, the British 3rd Division was constantly being moved about to various parts of the country.
Although I had been a member of the battalion Motor Transport, I had transferred to the Battalion Bren Gun Carrier Platoon just prior to the Battalion moving to Watford.
Because Watford was such a large town, it offered plenty of billets for the duty companies. I can only assume that space had to be found for half a dozen carriers and motorcycles outside of the town.
That is how we came to find ourselves plonking our sleeping palliasses down on the floor of the great entrance hall of Hatfield House.
The short time we were billeted there we were all out driving by day.
The battalion then moved up to Scotland to begin training for our return back into Europe.
All this was quite a while before the Americans moved in to Hatfield House.
I would be interested to hear from anyone else with any memories from that time. If you have any memories please e-mail me.