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A letter from Quorn Parish Council regarding the US 82nd Airborne Division

Below is a letter from the Quorn Parish Council, dated 20th September 1944 and addressed to the Commanding Officer of the American 82nd Airborne Division, regarding the US paratroopers who were based in Quorn.

Although it is known that there was sometimes trouble in Leicester, it is the first time that the museum team has come across criticism of the Americans in Quorn. It is also slightly odd, as with the letter being dated 20th September 1944, by the time it would have been received, Operation Market Garden had started and most of the paratroopers would have left for Holland, with only a small number of Americans remaining at the Braunstone Park HQ.

Below the letter is a photograph of the American tented camp at Quorn. The quality of of the image is not great, but it gives a very good idea of what the camp was like.

September 20th 1944.

The Commanding Officer,
82" Airborne Division,
Braunstone Park,
LEICESTER. (A.P.O. 469).

Dear Sir,
I am to inform you that at a meeting of my Council held last evening the following Resolution was passed unanimously: -

“The Quorndon Parish Council having received numerous complaints from all sources - civilians, R.N.A.S, A.T.S personnel etc. - regarding the behaviour of American Troops in Quorn and District strongly protest against such behaviour and recommend that stronger patrols be exercised in the village of Quorn from the hour of 8 p.m. at the latest until 1 a.m. at the earliest”.

We feel that the system of patrolling in Quorn is grossly insufficient. Many instances can be quoted of incidents which have occurred which could have been prevented had police been within call, and if the Troops had known that the village was more efficiently policed. Trouble has of course occurred in other villages, but the majority of so called ‘minor’ incidents occur in Quorn when the troops have been visiting other places return to Quorn anywhere between the hours of 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

May | quote just one case which in itself seems ‘minor’ and yet has its repercussions. Some two weeks ago one American soldier attempted to forcibly enter one house by forcing the window sash at the rear of the house, worried other householders by going to their houses demanding admittance, and severely kicking a man who tried to be friendly and take him to the camp because he was undoubtably under the influence of drink. All the incidents happened after 12 midnight. The last man’s wife was pregnant, and worried by the shock of the soldier trying to enter the house at that late hour and also the injury to her husband, had now had a miscarriage.

Many other incidents can be quoted of all classes of persons being assaulted in the streets, for no reason what ever except that the soldier is drunk. When | say that many females and some men dare not walk alone in the streets after dark because of the widespread and unprovoked assaults which take place, | am not unduly exaggerating in any way.

The position has gradually got worse. When the first Troops came into Quorn very few incidents took place, but we cannot feel that it is entirely due to the fact that lack of police supervision gives the men the knowledge that they ‘can get away with it’ because of the difficulty of proving identity, particularly with regarding incidents in the dark.

May we, therefore, urge that the systems of patrols be greatly increased, especially as the darker nights are approaching. We consider, and respectively urge, that to efficiently patrol the village, policemen should constantly parade every street, with only short intervals in between each pair of policemen. As there are not many streets, this would not entail too great a strain on the resources of the Camp.

Yours faithfully,

Clerk to the Council.

 view larger image
 Submitted on: 2024-03-13
 Submitted by: Dennis Marchant
 Artefact ID: 2576
 Artefact URL: www.quornmuseum.com/display.php?id=2576
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own (new browser tab).

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