As a girl living in Nunney during World War II Dorothy Wilcox witnessed an accident that killed five US soldiers.
Mrs Wilcox still lives in Nunney. She is the seventh generation of her family to have lived at Brazen Hall in Horn Street, Nunney.
Relatives who had arrived to escape the air raids were already in the house in 1940. Nevertheless, her mother had no choice but to take in more evacuees – a mother with two children.
Mother and daughter left when the bombardments of London started, but left a young boy behind who stayed with the Wilcox family for years.
She remembers the Grenadiers, the Scots Guards and the Coldstream Guards all setting up camp at Marston House near Nunney at various times during the war.
In August 1943 the American army arrived. Churchill had allocated most of the West Country as the place where the US Army could prepare for the liberation of Europe.
One drizzly night in February, Dorothy was cycling back from work along the Frome Road.
A US military lorry came out of Nunney at some speed. The driver was caught unaware by the sharp S-bend. The lorry overturned on a pile of gravel kept there for icy roads by the Council.
“It all happened before my very eyes,” she says. “Five men were killed outright by the accident and there were a lot of injured. It was a dreadful accident.”
“The driver thought he was on the road to Marston House, but because there were no lights he couldn’t really see.”
“There was nothing I could do to help but to go to Nunney Post Office and ring the Emergency Services.”
“I guess that their families back in America were told that they had been killed in action in Europe. But it was just a tragic accident.”
Nunney during World War II
Dorothy Wilcox’s story is part of the exhibition Nunney during World War II, first displayed in Nunney Church during the 2012 Nunney Street Market and Fayre.
The exhibition is still available online.