A LITTLE-known aspect of one of Malvern's roles during World War Two is highlighted in a new book.

Researchers Fran and Martin Collins have long been fascinated by the US armed forces in Britain during the war, and their latest book, Return To Duty, tells the story of the three military hospitals at Brickbarns Farm, Merebrook and Wood Farm. The book follows Blackmore Park in World War Two, published in 2008.

"We'd originally planned to cover all five hospitals in one book," said Martin, "but we gathered so much material that we decided we should split it in two."

The authors used US records, personal recollections and other sources - including the Malvern Gazette - to tell how the hospitals were founded, how they were operated and the impact they had on the area.

In the process, the Collinses uncovered stories such as that of American sailor Ed Black, who arrived at the 96th General Hospital, Brickbarns Farm, unconscious after destroyer USS Rich hit a mine and sank off the Normandy coast two days after D-Day.

"A lot of the books about the US forces concentrate on the fighting units," said Martin, "but we're interested in the support units, such as the hospitals and the army postal service. They provided the framework that enabled the war to be won."

To find out more, visit usarmydepots.co.uk.