During 1944 the Didlington Estate was home for the 7th Armoured Division (the "Desert Rats") when they were brought back to England from Italy for training in preparation for Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normany.
When my wife and I toured the estate in September 1999 many of the army huts, disintegrating in the woods of the estate, still showed many slogans, old posters, and so on, clearly left by the Desert Rats, and now the border of the estate on the main road from Brandon to Swaffham features the well known monument to the Brigade, featuring a restored Cromwell tank, which had seen service with the Division.
Although I have not, so far, been able to find documentary evidence in support, it is widely believed in the neighbourhood, that the Hall itself was used for a meeting between General Eisenehower, Supreme Commander for Operation Overlord and General Montgomery during the planning period.
After the war the Hall began to fall into disrepair and its Fixtures and Fittings were auctioned on 18th/19th April, 1950, and subsequently the major part of the Hall was demolished. The portion of the Hall remaining has subsequently been renovated and improvements and modifications made to the old stabling and carriage blocks.
The 1950 auction catalogue, which contains a number of excellent photographs of the Hall has been kindly loaned to me for scanning, and a full transcript of the illustrated catalogue os now available for viewing on these pages.
Copyright © E.C.Apling, June, 2008, revised November, 2008.
1891 Census Names Index
Sale particulars Didlington Estate, 1910.
Auction catalogue for the Sale of fixtures, 1950
Kelly's 1883; and Kelly's 1937; and White's 1854
White's 1845; 1864; and 1883 [all GENUKI-NFK]
Didlington postmill [Jonathan Neville]
More on Didlington [GENUKI-NFK]
More Parish Information [Geoff Lowe & Andrew Rivett]
Return to villages index
Paddy's home page