Tanks and American Soldiers
We often went to Ling Forest as we Knew it (Strawberry Knob as a child for picnics with the family and taking our dog for a walk. Later on when older a group of us would go and play in the old WW1 trenches but when the americans came to Mansfield it was used for Tank training by them.
I remember the tanks coming up Skerry Hill and along Eakring Road and we would follow them on our Bikes. The tanks would queue from the cross roads at the Eakring Road / Violet Hill junction.
We never did see them come back so it must be assumed they returned via Southwell Road and Rock Hill. I seem to think they were located on the Sutton Road (where Kings Mill Hospital is now ) as towards the end of the War the site became a American Army Hospital.
Got any gum chum?
I have vivid recollections of riding our bikes up and down the row (Got any Gum Chum?) and riding to the Co-op on Violet Hill fetching bread and potted meat for some of the Crews and no matter what they gave us, 10shillings or a pound, it was always “keep the change.”
Unfortunately it did not last very long and they obviously did not have any idea of the value of the english currency. At that time we being so young didn’t care.
Camp to Hospital
It didn’t last Long as they soon left the Area — D DAY was upon us. The Kings Mill Camp as stated became a Hospital for wounded GI’s but I seem to think part of the installation was also a POW site for Italian Prisoners who you could later on as the war ended, see in town all in a brown uniform with either a yellow diamond or circular patches on on same. They all seemed to have Leather Briefcases, whether they made them in their time in Mansfield I do not know.