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US Base Pheasey Estate

oldbrit

OldBrit in Exile
I remember a US base off the Coventry Road before Meridan,around Packington I think? We would ride our bikes there and ask the yanks "Got any gum chum" Wrigleys was what they gave us, use to rumage in the trash for knives forks spoons badges etc.Real friendly chaps John Crump, OldBrit now in Yankee land with a son in the US Navy
 

oldplumber

master brummie
Re: Ameican Pheasy Estate

Maggie,
yes there were Black Americans at the Pheasy Est camp,I used to deliver news papers to the camp in the war.I remember A women who lived in Monsel Rd on Beeches Est had a black baby & if I remember right her husband killed when he came back home after the war
 

maypolebaz

master brummie
Looking at the service records of my wife's Dad, 12 Centre, Pioneer Corps, moved from Liverpool to Pheasey Farm, Birmingham, in July 1941. The Centre then moved to Oldham in March 1942.
I wonder if they were on the Pheasey to build the accommodation huts ?
 

enzothebaker

proper brummie kid
The history of Pheasey can be traced back to 1559 when Simon Veysie purchased from John Reddell a house and land on the southern side of Barr Beacon, known as Barr Lea. Simon Veysie gave his name to the area which was later became known as Pheasey Farm. The farm passed to the possession of John Scott, rector at Great Barr (1578-1622)who farmed the land and was also a sucessful lawyer. In 1648 the farm was given to Elizabeth Birch when she married Richard Scott. The area was renowned for its large flocks of black-faced sheep.
Pheasey Farm stayed with the Scott family until July 1921. It was to have been auctioned with other parts of the Great Barr estate but was withdrawn from the auction and sold to George Smith, who had been a tenant farmer since 1902.
In 1934 the area became part of the newly created Aldridge Urban District Council.
In 1935 George Smith sold Pheasey Farm (some 303 acres) to First National Housing Trust to build houses for the growing population of Birmingham. They planned to build 4,225 houses to be let almost entirely to people from Birmingham. However planning permission was refused with Aldridge UDC claiming it was a very beautiful place with undulating land with belts of woodland, and suggested 150 acres were left open and a far lower density of building. The decision went to appeal and and the decision to refuse planning permission overturned. However Aldridge UDC did purchase 68 acres which they intended to keep as open space. The first sod was ceremonially cut on the 13th July 1937 by the Minister of Health, Sir Kingsley Wood.
The outbreak of war in 1939 stopped development after about 1700 houses had been built. The creation of the Community Centre in Collingwood Drive was also stopped and the Community Association took over the large Pheasey Farm barn as an assembly hall, the Old Barn continuing for many years until it was demolished in the early 1960's. Other farm buildings were also used as offices and workshops.
Part of the estate was requisitioned and in 1942 the first group of American solders of the US 10th Replacement Sub-Depot moved in. They remained until June 1945.
In April 1942 a temporary Infant school was opened for the many children on the estate who had previously been transported to schools in Pelsall and Rushall. In 1946 the planned community centre in Collingwood Drive was taken over to use as a temporary Junior School. A new school was built in Raeburn Road and opened in September 1950 for juniors and infants, with the Collingwood Drive school becoming a senior school at the time. Doe Bank School was opened in 1964. More recently Meadow View JMI School was formed by the amalgamation of Doe Bank JMI School and Collingwood Primary School.
I know this is an old thread but absolutely fascinating to read all the posts about the Pheasey Estate - I never knew anything about the GI's base even though I was born in Chantry Crescent in December '45. My earliest memory is of being wheeled in a push-chair past The Deer's Leap pub in the infamous 1967/47 winter. Mom used to shop at Babs Hadley's shop on the corner of Queslett Rd/ Chester Rd (now a garage) and we didn't have a car. I remember too the huge street party in Chantry - I think held to celebrate the Coronation in '53 - but I'm not positive.
 

Barr_Beacon

The Prodigal Brummie
I saw this photograph years ago and it has been mentioned here. Took me a while to track it down but I have. It shows a US military policeman standing guard outside what is now Pheasey Library / community centre. If anyone has more information about it, I'd love to know.

 

oldMohawk

master brummie
A U.S. Army serviceman outside a house they were using on the Pheasey Estate.
Pheasey_GI.jpg
 
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oldMohawk

master brummie
Hi Viv,
Is there anything in the old newspapers about the United States Army Base on the Pheasey Estate in WW2 ?
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Searched a lot of papers Phil for WW2 dates but found nothing. No mention of the base. Was wondering if it was kept quiet for security reasons.

There's a mention in 1946 when squatters got into the Quartemaster's stores. But that's all I could find. Viv.
 

Attachments

oldMohawk

master brummie
Thanks Viv,
Interesting information about the squatters. I notice one name mentioned lived in the road I lived in but I don't recognise his name.
Phil
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
There is, as mentioned above, the Book, "They also serve who stand and wait" which tells the story of the depot. The link in the first post is not working so this should be better.
As Pheasey was used as a sub depot of Whittington you may get an idea of the use from the book....LICHFIELD: The U.S. ARMY ON TRIAL by Jack Gieck

Geick tells of the terrible atrocities committed at Whittington and the subsequent trial. He refers to the "Beast of Lichfield.”

Whittington Barracks was handed over in 1942 to the US as a staging area for the allied invasion of Normandy. After D-Day the facility became a "reinforcement depot" where individual or "causal" replacement soldiers were sent to be processed for re-assignment to combat units, which had become depleted because of casualties.

Between Sept 1942 and Sep 1945 when the base was returned, some 340,000 American troops passed through..... a significant portion, especially in the later years had been wounded in combat, and recently been released from hospitals.

“...some of early the shipments to Lichfield were actually made up of prisoners who had been convicted by military courts in the US of armed robbery, assault, rape, car theft, burglary, and other criminal offencies....Lichfield cadre learned to be tough as nails in handling their temporary charges, and they did not distinguish between individuals.”

Jack Geick does not mention Pheasey but at Whittington the coloured soldiers were segregated and were accomodated in tents
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
Our next door neighbour got pregnant after a dalliance with a Yank from the Pheasey, the child was white and she kept him, later her husband back from the war treated him as his own.
Another neighbour across the road whose husband was a RE major was reputed to be having many visitors and charging them for the privilege.
 

Pedrocut

Master Barmmie
Lencops, in post 22, suggests that the depot would be all white due to the segregation employed by the US Army at the time.

I have looked through the book, They Also Serve who Stand and Wait: A History of Pheasey Farms US Depot, by Fran and Martin Collins, and can’t find any comment concerning an “African Americans,” or find one in any of the photographs, some of which are reproduced in the thread.

There were however African Americans sent to the main depot at Whittington where I believe they were segregated and tented close by at the Golf Course. One of the allegations made at the trial was that Negros in the mess hall were forced to crawl and bark like dogs before they were fed.

There is a mention by Fran and Martin Collins of a Native American, whose kind were allowed to serve alongside
white Americans.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Lencops, in post 22, suggests that the depot would be all white due to the segregation employed by the US Army at the time.

I have looked through the book, They Also Serve who Stand and Wait: A History of Pheasey Farms US Depot, by Fran and Martin Collins, and can’t find any comment concerning an “African Americans,” or find one in any of the photographs, some of which are reproduced in the thread.
The group photo I inserted in post#63 does not appear to show any any African Americans. That photo was definitely taken on the Pheasey Estate.
 
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