HERGEST Camp near Kington, once a centre of significant military activity during the Second World War, has come into special focus in this 75th anniversary year.

Hundreds of American troops, injured on the battlefields of the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944 and 1945, received treatment at two vast US military hospitals at Hergest.

Trains brought the wounded to Kington and streams of ambulances took GIs on to the camp.

Only the crumbling ruins of concrete and brick huts on the Hergest road serve as a reminder of what was a facility of epic proportions for the 107th and 122nd US military hospitals. At Kington Museum, where an entire section is devoted to the history of Hergest Camp, visitors can discover more about that remarkable period.

Exhausted and battle-worn British battalions were brought here after Dunkirk and it went on to become a resettlement point for many Polish military units after the war. The huts also provided homes for many families during the acute housing shortages following the war.

On Friday September 13, Kington Museum is organising a talk at Kington Primary School by historian Mari Fforde, who has made extensive studies of Hergest Camp. In the meantime, museum chairman Denise North is appealing for any local information about that time.

“We are particularly keen to hear any personal stories and we have memory books at the museum for people to write in,” she explained. “We have a number of artefacts including service medals and US army helmets.”

She said that Lady Hawkins’ School head of history, Nic Dinsdale, and students had also made major studies of the camp.

  • Kington Museum is looking for volunteers to help greet and assist visitors, help with research and enquiries, work on the exhibits with curator Angharrad Morgan or join the committee to help with the running of the museum and the activities of Kington History Society as the two are merged. Said Denise: “No specific skills or knowledge needed, but an eye for detail and willingness to learn.” She can be contacted on dzn20@aol.com or phone 01544 231319. Alternatively, call at the museum for a form.Event on Friday 13th at Kington Primary school will be Mari’s slides and archive film and Q&A, possibly also with input from those in audience who were staff, suppliers or residents post war camp buildings.