A RESEARCHER is appealing for Guardian readers to help fill gaps in Marbury’s wartime history.

Friends of Anderton and Marbury (FoAM) has created a section on its website detailing the fascinating story of Marbury Hall.

This includes a section on the Second World War years, when the hall and its grounds were home first to British and American soldiers and then to prisoners of war.

But FoAM member Clive Brookes said there is much more that they do not know.

“We have identified the battalions – army units of about 600 men – who occupied the camp from July 1940 until July 1942,” he said.

“These included raw recruits who were trained at Marbury and then sent to the Isle of Wight to defend against the invasion that never came.

“Despite identifying the soldiers on site in 1940, we still do not know when the camp was built and who built it.”

It was troops at Marbury that helped to clear up in Liverpool after Blitz raids and a Norfolk battalion was sent from Marbury to Singapore where they were captured by and sent to work on the ‘death railway’.

Other units practised firing mortars into Budworth, while the Fleet Air Arm torpedo bombers from Stretton practised over water attacks along the length of the Mere.

Clive said: “Our greatest problems start in 1942.

“We believe the Poles came to Marbury after July 1942 but we do not know when they came or when they left, and indeed, exactly which unit they were. We do not know if there were other units, yet unidentified in the period 1942-1944.

“Local stories tell of black American troops arriving, but we can find little record.Uncertainty lasts until April 1944 when identifiable American infantry, medical and secret signals troops arrive.”

Clive said Marbury Hall itself housed the American General Troy H Middleton and his staff, who spent much of their time at Peover Hall with General Patton planning the invasion of Normandy after D-Day.

Clive said: “As part of the D-Day deception plan, it was agreed by the Allies that they would deliberately leak through a double-cross German spy that Marbury was the temporary home of US troops destined to land in Calais in a main invasion, rather than the June D-day landings, which were supposedly a feint attack.

“We are currently trying to confirm that Hitler himself saw this deceptive message.”

FoAM is also trying to find out when the prisoner of war camp opened and closed, how many prisoners there were and more of their stories.

Clive said: “Diaries, photographs and memories will all count to writing the real story of Marbury Hall army and prisoner of war camp, and most of all the story of the brave men who lived in our community.”

Email foam@merseyforest.org.uk or write to FOAM c/o The Rangers’ Office, Marbury Country Park, Comberbach, Northwich, Cheshire, CW9 6AT.