Welcome to VZW's Tribute to the 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division Tribute
9th Infantry Division — World War II — Alresford and Winchester, England
The Fulling Mill is located on the River Arle in Alresford, England
Alresford, England, is a quaint village located approximately seven miles east of Winchester. From November 1943 to May 1944, the 9th Infantry Division was stationed in Alresford, Tichborne, Cheriton, Armsworth House, Bighton Wood, Bishop Sutton, Basingstoke and Northington Grange, which at that time was the largest home in England aside from Buckingham Palace in London.

The 39th "Fighting Falcons" were stationed at Camp Barton Stacey, a former British installation, while the 60th "Go-Devils" were billetted at Winchester and Bushfield.

Having conquered the Axis powers in North Africa, Tunisia and Sicily, 9th Infantry Division GIs were traveling to England for rest and relaxation and, of course, more training for the war's next big event — seizure of Hitler's Atlantic Wall during the June 1944 D-Day landings on the shores of Normandy, France. The 9th Infantry Division would begin unloading at Utah Beach on D-Day-plus-four, June 10, 1944.

While stationed in England, GIs enjoyed plenty of pubs and bitter beer, tea and scones, fish and chips (at that time eaten from a newspaper wrapper and doused with vinegar and salt), and an abundance of beautiful British ladies. In Alresford, troops revelled in walks along the River Arle, sometimes with a canine mascot known as Hambone Jr.

Pictured here is the Alresford Fulling Mill on the River Arle. According to Stephen Alsford's Web site, the Fulling Mill was rebuilt in the 13th century for the fulling of cloth.

"Access to clean, fast-running water was a requirement of this element of the cloth-finishing industry and much of the mill is built directly above the river," Alsford wrote at his Web site. "The great pond created by (Bishop Godfrey de Lucy's) weir supplied a source of fast-running water for the operation of mills.

"England's wool was known throughout medieval Europe for its quality (although that of southern England was not the finest produced in the country), and the wool and cloth trades were a major element in the English economy from the twelfth to the fifteenth century. At first it was the export of raw wool to cloth-producing centres of Flanders and Italy that was important, particularly in the earlier period, as a growing population across Europe produced greater demand for clothing.

"English merchants and entrepreneurs came to realize the sense in using the wool to produce cloth domestically (rather than buy it back from Europe). They invested in the development of an existing, modest, rural cloth-producing industry (with a corresponding adverse effect on the elements of that industry already established in the larger towns); many fulling mills were built in the thirteenth century. Cloth manufacture employed a large number of townsmen in its various stages (e.g. shearing, carding, combing, spinning, weaving, fulling, felting, dyeing, cutting). Fulling was a two-part process:

"1. newly-woven cloth was cleaned by soaking it in clean water and then beating it, usually with water-driven mechanical paddles; 2. the cloth was thickened by scrubbing it with 'fuller's earth' (aluminium oxide) which provided a good texture and initiated bleaching, a process later completed by the cloth-owners who stretched the cloth out to dry over a wooden frame called a 'tenter'."

[ Back to PhotographsNext Photograph ]

596th Signal Support Co., 97th Signal Battalion
47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
Stories by Vincent Z. Whaley

All photographs, images, and stories:
Copyright © 1996-2010  By Vincent Z. Whaley All Rights Reserved
Used Only Under Authorization

All photographs, graphics, and stories may be used only for personal research
and with written consent from the author and Webmaster:
Vincent Z. Whaley

Web Site and Graphic Design by Vincent Z. Whaley