The evacuees were replaced by American troops...
By the 22nd September 1939 there were sixteen new residents at Heytesbury, evacuees sent for safety at the beginning of the Second World War. Later, Sassoon’s friend Sydney Cockerell, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, arrived with 200 books and manuscripts for safe keeping at the the house. In addition to this, in 1942, Sassoon’s lawyer, Anthony Lusada brought his picture collection also for safe keeping.
Also in 1942 the evacuees left Heytesbury and were replaced by American troops in November. By the middle of 1944 there were twenty-five American troops sleeping in the house and another thousand camped in the grounds. Sadly, by November 1945, with his marriage broken down, a lorry arrived at the house to take away Hester’s furniture, with his wife and son gone, Heytesbury House was now barren. After the war problems continued and in 1948 Sassoon’s woodman, cook and gardener quarelled and all handed in their notice.
Siegfried Sassoon died in September 1967. His son George was living at a decaying Heytesbury House at this time, struggling to keep it up but in 1974, expenses and insurance losses compelled him to sell many of the books, manuscripts and letters from his father’s library. Other sales followed and Sassoon’s literary legacy was scattered across the the globe, much of it going to the United States. George had also spent a great deal of money trying to fight plans to put a new by-pass through the park, in this he failed, and the busy A36 now cuts the house off from the original location of the main gate.
In 1986 the house was finally sold and is now divided up into flats and a large mound of earth now cuts it off from the new road in order to keep down the noise of the traffic.