Held at:

Private Collection




Original Photographs


Digital Archive: Photographs of Michaelchurch Court during the Second World War

Place name:

Michaelchurch Escley


1944 - 1945


Following the outbreak of the Second World War Michaelchurch Court was let c.1940 by the Trafford family to the Royal Canadian Air Force. The story told to local people was that it would be used as a convalescent home for wounded Canadian servicemen. In reality however other sources suggest it was garrisoned under the designation ‘QZ’ by a small staff [perhaps as few as four initially] for use as a storage facility for duplicate RCAF headquarters records, as a precaution against the originals being destroyed by German bombing. However some uncertainty still remains as to whether this was in fact the use, or sole use, to which it was put.

The photographs below were taken at Michaelchurch between 1944 and 1945 and have kindly been made available by the family of Leading Aircraftman [later Corporal] Fraser Wood who served there at that time and features in several of them. His service record confirms the RCAF designation of the Court as ‘QZ’, but adds nothing further about the nature of his duties there. His family recall that he said little about his wartime experiences, but did tell them he was posted to an estate where it was the backup in the event the HQ in London was bombed, and that he was a driver as part of a group of four people based there. This appears to confirm other accounts of RCAF activities at Michaelchurch.

An extract from other RCAF records also in his family’s possession lists his range of duties during his service career as ‘employed in flying control, operated lighting plant, gardener, multigraph [a small hand-operated printing machine] operator, chef’s assistant’, although curiously ‘driver’ is not listed. It casts no light on which were relevant to his posting in Michaelchurch - though we might assume that flying control or printing were not amongst his tasks while he was there and the photograph of the wartime greenhouses and vegetable patch suggests that his experience as a gardener might have proved useful.


Fraser Wood and companions in front of the Victorian Wing


Fraser Wood and his Sergeant in front of the Victorian Wing

Fraser Wood and companions at Michaelchurch Court


The garrison Sergeant in the conservatory at Michaelchurch Court

Officers of the Canadian Air Force at Michaelchurch Court during WW2

{from the Baxendale collection}


Fraser Wood enjoying the gardens at Michaelchurch Court

The conservatory at Michaelchurch Court from the top terrace


The Victorian Wing at Michaelchurch Court from the top terrace

Digging for Victory - the wartime vegetable garden


The greenhouses at Michaelchurch Court

Yard and front elevation of Michaelchurch Court


The Victorian Wing south elevation from the lower terrace

The Victorian Wing north elevation from the courtyard


The courtyard and buildings from the driveway

Extract of Fraser Wood’s service record and postings


Extract of Fraser Wood’s Veterans Affairs record of employment



These pictures form part of a wider collection of photographs of Michaelchurch Court available in our digital archive.

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