LISTENING TO THE ENEMY
Latimer House is in a beautiful setting, clearly visible on the top of a hill from the Chesham to Rickmansworth road. It was the ancestral home of Lord Chesham. However, the Government requisitioned it shortly before the war and converted it into an emergency hospital specifically for the Metropolitan Police.
It was envisaged that the expected air raids would cause large scale casualties, not only to civilians, but also on-duty police. Despite the horrors of the ‘Blitz’, it was very much underutilised.
However, as the War Department began to realise that its location and layout would be ideal for other uses, they increased their take-over from part of the house to all of it and the extensive estate. Lord Chesham had no choice other than to move out and he purchased the village rectory. Little did he know that neither he nor his family would live in Latimer House again.
By 1941, the Government found another very different use for this grand house and the grounds to the rear of it. As the war progressed, so both sides were steadily amassing prisoners of war (POWs). But the British approach to handling their captured enemy was somewhat more subtle than that used by the Nazis.
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