Military Wiki
Whittington Barracks
Army Museum - - 7951.jpg
The Staffordshire Regiment Museum
Active 1881 -
Country United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Medical Services
Regiment HQ
Garrison/HQ Whittington, Staffordshire

Whittington Barracks is a British Army base in Whittington, Staffordshire, near Lichfield in England.

Early history

The heath was the originally the site of the Lichfield races which had moved from Fradley in 1702. During the 18th century they were one of the largest and well attended meeting in the Midlands – in 1773 a grandstand was erected near the Lichfield-Tamworth Road. However during the course of the 19th century the popularity of the races dwindled, and military use of the heath grew. In 1875, the Marquess of Anglesey was approached by the War Department and asked if he would sell Whittington Heath for the building of a barracks, to which he agreed. Construction of the Barracks for the Depots of the two Regiments and for a Militia Battalion (of which there were four in the county) started on Whittington Heath in 1877. 1881 was the date recorded as the formal handing over of the newly built barracks to the military.[1]

In 1895 the last race meeting was held when the war office declared it was "undesirable to hold a race meeting at the gate of the barracks.". The Lichfield races are still remembered the name of a local pub in Freeford called the Horse & Jockey. In Lichfield, there is another pub called "The Scales" was where the race jockeys were "weighed in". The old grandstand originally became a soldiers home, although it is now the base of the Whittington Heath Golf Course.[2]

File:Mercian regiment.PNG

The Mercian Regiment

World War II: 10th Replacement Depot

During World War II the barracks was occupied by the United States Army and in August 1942 was designated as the 10th US Army Replacement Depot, commanded by Lieutenant colonel James A. Kilian.[3][4] Replacement depots, known by troops as "repple depples", temporarily housed reserves or replacements for front-line formations, including soldiers who had previously been injured and subsequently discharged from medical care for return to active service.[5] The depot was also used as a military prison for soldiers convicted of being absent without leave from units headed for front line service.[6] Under the command of Kilian, a native of Highland Park, Illinois, and Major Richard E. Lobuono, the Provost Marshal, the depot became "infamous" for its regime of brutality and the "cruel and unusual punishments of American soldiers imprisoned there."[7][8] Prisoners were regularly beaten with clubs, forced to carry out vigorous physical exercise for seven hours daily, and given only 5 minutes to eat meals. When notice was received of official inspections by visiting officers, prisoners thought likely to make complaints or with visible injuries were temporarily removed from the camp.[9]

Whittington Golf Club

In 1946 a court martial was convened at Grosvenor Square, London, to inquire into allegations that nine guards and two officers had ill-treated prisoners at Whittington.[10] The court martial took ten months to reach its conclusion, and eventually grew to include Kilian and Lobuono. Sergeant Judson Smith was sentenced to three years hard labor and a dishonorable discharge and other enlisted men received prison sentences of lesser length. Lieutenant Granville Cubage, accused of ordering the punishments, pleaded that he was following orders from superior officers. He was fined $250 and reprimanded.[11] In September 1946, at a court martial convened at Bad Nauheim, Germany, Lobuono was officially reprimanded and fined $250 (approximately one month's pay), and Kilian was reprimanded and fined $500.[12][13]

Post war

The site became home to the Staffordshire Regiment Museum in 1963.[14]

The barracks served as the home to Army Training Regiment, Litchfield, which trained new recruits on their Phase 1 Common Military Training (i.e. becoming soldiers) from The Royal Signals and The Royal Engineers, from 2002 until 2008 when Major General Andrew Farquhar CBE, General Officer Commanding the Army's 5th Infantry Division, inspected the recruits and took the salute before the Army Training Regiment's flag was lowered for the very last time.[15]

In 2007 Whittington Barracks became the home for Regimental Headquarters of the newly formed Mercian Regiment.[16]

In July 2008 the Labour Government set in motion the centralisation of all planning and training of the Defence Medical Services at Whittington Barracks. The relocation of the Headquarters of the Surgeon-General and major components of the Joint Medical Command (JMC) was completed. A new HQ, named Coltman House, has been built and is fully occupied. Alongside the Headquarters of the Surgeon-General, the elements of the JMC now at Whittington comprise the defence medical group and the JMC HQ previously at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, Hampshire, the Director of Healthcare previously based in Whitehall, the Defence Dental Service previously located at RAF Halton, Buckinghamshire, and the Defence Postgraduate Medical Dean, previously located in Birmingham at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Selly Oak Hospital. The single service medical heads, the Army Medical Services, Royal Navy Medical Branch and Royal Air Force Medical Branch. A second phase at the barracks – now renamed Defence Medical Services Whittington – include new training facilities, a new learning centre, a new lecture theatre, new messes for officers, warrant officers and NCOs – and a new junior ranks dining and leisure facility.[17]


  1. "Quartermaster's Stores". Pastscape. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  2. "Whittington Heath Golf Course". Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  3. "Lichfield's Tribute To U.S. Troops". The Times. London. 18 December 1944. p. 2. 
  4. "National Affairs: The Colonel & the Private". Time. 9 September 1946.,9171,855387,00.html#ixzz2PgQweoNV. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  5. "Repple depple". Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. 2002. 
  6. "Colonel Excused at Brutality Trial". The Binghamton Press. 4 June 1946. p. 10. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  7. "Kilian Scored In Testimony Of Two Aides". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 12 July 1946. p. 5.,5217849. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  8. "Convict Major Of Cruelties". New York Post. 27 August 1946. p. 16. 
  9. "Wounded Vet 'Treated Like Dog' at Lichfield". Emporia Gazette. 26 June 1946. p. 3. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  10. "U.S. Court-Martial And A Colonel". The Times. London. 16 January 1946. p. 2. 
  11. "ARMY & NAVY: Going Higher". Time. 24 June 1946.,9171,852827,00.html#ixzz2PgyvLDtY. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  12. Herowitz, Irvin M. (21 June 1946). "Cabbages and Kings". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  13. Grimes, Paul M. (7 May 1947). "Shades of Lichfield". The Cornell Daily Sun. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  14. "The Staffordshire Regiment Museum". Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  15. "End of an era for Barracks". 24 April 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  16. "Mercian Regiment (Staffords) prepares for Afghanistan". BBC. 18 February 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  17. "Defence Medical Services". Retrieved 30 March 2014. 

External links

Coordinates: 52°39′32″N 1°46′23″W / 52.659°N 1.773°W / 52.659; -1.773

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