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Seeking Dodge WC54 and Austin K2 owners

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Here in Marlborough, Wilts we were wartime hosts to the US Army's 347th Station Hospital between May of 1944 and May of 45, when it relocated to Chiseldon near Swindon for its last couple of months in the ETO.


The 347th were essentially a stabilisation unit, with patients being flown directly from mainland Europe to nearby Ramsbury and Membury airfields before being conveyed by Ambulance to the hospital on the Common on the north side of the town. As a result, few of the 347th's patients stayed more than one night before being moved once more by ambulance, on to hospital trains at Marlborough's GWR station to be taken on to other military hospitals that would specialise in the various branches of medicine required by each individual.


As a unit the 347th had just over 1100 beds, all serviced by 43 officers, 75 nurses and some 400 enlisted men as well as 3 American Red Cross Officers.


Marlborough Common 30-4-44 2.jpg


During its active existence from circa D+3 to the end of July 1945, the 347th treated a staggering 62000 patients of whom less than 20 passed away whilst in their care.


In 1997 a small group of 347th veterans returned to Marlborough and unveiled a handsome self funded granite memorial on the site of their wartime endeavours. Some 18 years on, the painted inscription on the stone is now illegible and I am leading efforts to get it refurbished; with a local painter offering to do so FOC with a gilt cream paint as used on sun dials.


As and when it is completed I would like to arrange a suitable low-key one day event to refresh the local populaces' awareness of what happened in their midsts post D-Day and would like to gather a representative collection of appropriate WW2 military ambulances back on the common.


Interestingly in 1997 we did have one WC54 kindly driven up from Somerset by Steve Whitehouse, but the veterans were decidedly cool about it's presence as it obviously made the bad memories just a little too real; something that I had previously given no consideration to.


18 years on we are sadly no longer graced by the presence of any 347th veterans (I actually do not know of any who are still with us), the only benefit of that being that we can contemplate recreating a little bit of history as per the attached images without causing unnecessary offence.


If you are on Facebook, please visit my 'Friends of the WW2 347th Station Hospital' page to see more images of the hospital. The 347th were equipped with both WC54 and Austin K2 vehicles as well as anything passing through the area that they could lay their hands on to!


If you are interested in being kept updated on when this might happen, PM me.




Neil Stevens


347th K2 Marlborough station.jpg


347th Ambulances + flag.jpg

347th Ambulances.jpg

Marlborough-Sgt Nunzio Rappazo 1st left.jpg

347th Marlborough Common.jpg

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