During World War II, Beningbrough was requisitioned for use as a billet for aircrews stationed at the RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse. Lady Chesterfield moved out, into Home Farm, and the hall’s furniture and pictures were put into storage. Here are some of the stories from wartime Beningbrough.
One man's story
An encounter with Lady Chesterfield
" Good luck boys, and keep off my vegetables"
Race to the bar
All sorts of capers were dreamed up to relieve mission stress. If you could run from the bar, the full length of the house, up the stairs, along the top floor and then back down to the bar in one minute, you won a free pint. At bar opening time, there was a mad rush to get downstairs, usually on push bikes, and on at least one occasion, a motorbike to try and win the pint.
A wartime love story
To the back of the American Garden are three silver birch trees which were planted as a memorial by a British Army Officer. He married a German woman, whose German husband had died fighting the Russians on the Eastern Front. She showed him a photograph of his grave, marked only by two birch twigs. The British Officer planted two birch trees, in memory of his wife and her first husband, and then returned to Beningbrough some years later to plant one for himself.
Recent projects on Beningbrough at war have resulted in a collection of people's memories and stories. These will turn into an archive for those who served at Beningbrough during the second world war and become part of the history of the place.