Fulbeck Hall

Between December 1943 and January 1944 the 1st Airborne Division began to arrive back in England, from Italy and North Africa, and settled into its new billets in the Lincolnshire and Leicestershire area. Fulbeck Hall, Lincolnshire was chosen as the location for Divisional Headquarters and the surrounding area as the base for most of the Divisional Support Units.

Syston Old Hall, Lincolnshire would be the Headquarters for the 1st Parachute Brigade with its units based around the areas of Grantham, Bourne, and Spalding.

Revesby Abbey, Lincolnshire would be the location for the Headquarters of the 1st Airlanding Brigade with its units being based in and around Woodhall Spa.

The 4th Parachute Brigade Headquarters would be at Knossington Grange in Leicestershire, with its units being based in and around Melton Mowbray.

The Headquarters of the Divisional Artillery and Engineers was also located at Fulbeck House, with the Headquarters of the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers being next door at Fulbeck Manor. The Headquarters, Royal Army Service Corps and the Divisional Headquarters Defence and Employment Platoon, over eighty men, were billeted at Leadenham High House, a few miles north of Fulbeck.

Initially the General Officer Commanding 1st Airborne Division was Major General E.E. Down, but in January 1944 Major General R.E. Urquhart took over, and remained in command until the disbandment of the Division in October/November 1945.

Fulbeck Hall had been in the Fane family since 1632, and by 1934 it was a descendant of his, Colonel William Fane that was in residence. It was requisitioned by the War Ministry in 1940. A letter from Colonel William Fane to the War Office offering the house to the military crossed with one from the War Office demanding it for their use! Between 1940 and December 1943 it was used by The Gordon Highlanders, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Welsh Fusiliers.

The Headquarters of the 1st Airborne Division occupied Fulbeck Hall up until August 1945, when another unit took over for a few months, when it was then handed back to Colonel Fane.

Colonel Fane died in 1976 and his widow, Dorothy Fane took over, until her death in 1986. Their only daughter Mary Fry took over the Hall in 1997-98, and began to hold commemorations for the Battle of Arnhem, until her untimely death (from cancer) in 2000.

The main information came from ‘A History of Fulbeck, In the County of Lincolnshire’, by Julian F. Fane. Published 2009.

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